How Does Physical Therapy Help with Athletic Injury?

From competitive organized sports to casual jogging, almost every athletic activity has a certain injury risk attached to it. Sports injuries like ligament tears, muscle strains, and dislocations have been the cause of many athletes sitting on the sidelines for the full season instead of playing. When someone gets a sports injury, their doctor may refer them to a physical therapist to help rehabilitate them to get them back into the game without any pain or lasting consequences of the injury.

Many people mistakenly assume that physical therapy is for elderly people and hardcore athletes, but this isn’t the case. Millions of people with sports injuries go through this therapy because it has proven benefits, and it can be less expensive and invasive when you compare it to surgery. By doing a range of exercises, stretches, and techniques that are custom-tailored to you, therapy allows you to strengthen and target the muscles involved with and around the injury. If you’re wondering what some of the benefits of physical therapy for a sports injury are, read on.

1. Stretching Out Tight Joints and Muscles

Stretching is a vital component to helping you achieve and maintain a good range of motion with your joints. It also helps improve your muscle flexibility. If you have tight muscles or stiff joints, it can impact daily, normal activities like reaching overhead or climbing the stairs. When you go through proper stretches, you can preserve these daily functions.

After surgery or an injury, scar tissue can form. If it does, the soft tissue can contract. This can hinder your range of motion and your ability to perform normal functions. Stretching is very important in these situations because it’ll help ensure that the formation of scar tissue around the injury site doesn’t get in the way of your rehabilitation and that you don’t lose any range of motion.

2. Core Stability and Strengthening

Core strengthening and stability is a rather recent emphasis in physical therapy Think of your body’s core like your house’s foundation. If your home sat on a weak foundation, it has a higher risk of collapse or damage. So, if your body has a weaker core, you could be more prone to chronic overuse syndromes and acute injuries. This is where core strengthening and stability exercises come in.

Core strengthening focuses primarily on your pelvis and back muscles. Exercise programs like pilates are very good for helping you increase the stability of your body’s core. This is exactly why a lot of professional-level athletes incorporate regular pilates workouts into their routines.

3. Reduce or Eliminate Pain

Injuries typically bring pain, and this pain can linger well into the healing process. It can also make you more hesitant to stretch or work the healing area because improper techniques can cause the pain levels to flare. Stiffness could also be another problem, especially with soft tissue injuries.

Physical therapy can help reduce or eliminate your pain levels. The therapist will custom-tailor an exercise plan to your needs after they talk with you and review the injury. So, they’ll help loosen up the area and reduce your pain levels. Treatment methods like taping, electrical stimulation, or ultrasound can help improve blood circulation at the injured site too.

4. Improve Healing Times

When you have an injury, the last thing you want to do is move the area. While this is good for the initial time, you will eventually want to get up and moving. Not doing so can cause problems with the muscles and joints surrounding the injury, and it can actually slow down your healing time. However, you also don’t want to do too much and put a strain on the injury.

Physical therapy will help you stay on an approved exercise regimen that is just enough to help circulation around the area and strengthen the muscles without overdoing it and injuring yourself. The therapist will usually give you exercises to perform at home outside of the therapy appointments too. Sticking to this routine can help speed up your healing time.

5. Potentially Help Avoid Surgery

Depending on where the injury is, it could involve helping to restore joint function and mobility as you start to heal. If therapy is successful, you could potentially avoid a more invasive surgical procedure to help get rid of some of the scar tissue and restore your ability to move as you did before you had the injury.

Many doctors will prescribe physical therapy before they will surgery as part of the treatment plan unless the injury is too severe. Adhering to your therapy appointments and following the routine the physical therapist sets for you is critical to helping you heal, restoring your movement to the injured area, and avoiding an invasive surgical procedure. If you have surgery, pre-surgery therapy will help prepare you for it and get you back on your feet quicker after surgery.

6. Reduces the Risk of Re-Injuring the Same Area

Once you injure an area, it can always be slightly weaker than other areas of your body. In turn, this makes it much more susceptible to another injury of the same type that you had the first time. This is especially true if it doesn’t heal correctly due to non-compliance on your part or a lack of medical guidance.

The therapist will ensure that you have a very good understanding of each part of the therapy they have you do. They’ll also give you exercises to do at home and teach you how to do them correctly. In turn, this can strengthen this specific area to reduce the chances of you injuring it again.

Florida Spine Associates Can Help With Physical Therapy

Have you had an athletic injury that you need help rehabilitating? Perhaps your physician suggested physical therapy, and you’re not sure where to start. Whatever the reason, you can contact our friendly and professional staff. We’re happy to answer your questions, address your concerns, and set up a consultation.