Sports injury rehabilitation 101


Injuries can occur in any sporting activity. Professional athletes in particular, are prone to injuries due to the excessive wear and tear associated with the demands of competitive sport. The right exercise program to maintain strength, flexibility and stability can help athletes recover quickly after an injury, empowering them to resume athletic activities.

Sports injuries, by definition, include injuries involving the musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system includes the bones, tissues, muscles, and cartilage. Every injury is different and every person heals differently. Some of the most common sports injuries include sprains, strains, shin splints and knee injuries. The purpose of rehabilitation is to help the injured tissues recover in a controlled and supervised manner. It takes time for an injury to heal, and it’s best to seek the guidance of an experienced physical therapist during this time. The therapist can design a safe and effective recovery program specifically geared towards the individual’s abilities. A physical therapist can identify the cause of the injury and create a treatment plan to prevent future injuries.

A physical therapist is a healthcare professional with extensive training in the musculoskeletal system. The therapist can work closely with athletes to assess muscle imbalance, range of motion and functional requirements of that particular sport. For example, a baseball pitcher may need a shoulder stabilization program and a basketball player may need a speed and plyometric (explosive strength) training program. The physical therapist can evaluate, identify, and plan a sport-specific injury prevention program.

As part of the treatment process, a therapist will prescribe an exercise program consisting of stretching (to improve mobility) and exercises (to improve strength). The goal of physical therapy is to reduce pain and improve function as quickly as possible. Along with exercise, rest is an important part of the recovery process. The physical therapist will help you to balance rest and exercise to recovery in an optimal manner.

An injury is the last thing anyone wants. Without proper rehabilitation, the damage can get worse. In fact, did you know that physical therapy helps not only with treatment, but also with prevention of athletic injuries? Also, it doesn’t matter if you play professional sports or are a weekend warrior. Working with a physical therapist requires time and patience, but it’s worth the effort. It’s a great way to come back to the sport you love and enjoy, while minimizing the chances of re-injury.

If you or someone you know is an athlete, consider working with a physical therapist. In fact, you don’t have to wait till you are injured, because a physical therapist can help an individual improve athletic performance and minimize injury. A preventive, proactive approach is important. After all, prevention is better than cure.

If you or someone you know is injured, schedule an evaluation with a physical therapist as soon as possible.

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