Sports Physical Therapy

The Fascinating World of Sports Physical Therapy

Sports medicine has advanced greatly over the decades. With tools like CT scans and MRIs, doctors and therapists who participate in sports injury rehabilitation aren’t limited to X-rays to diagnose athletic injuries. More sophisticated knowledge of how the human body works has also allowed trainers to help athletes – whether professional or weekend – to avoid injury in the first place. When injury does occur, the advanced knowledge of the body and how it heals itself makes sports injury rehabilitation more effective.

Athletic injuries can happen to an athlete from head to toe. Indeed, a great many injuries happen to the feet. They also happen to the legs and the arms and the hands. Other injuries affect the neck, the spine and the back as well as the head and the face.

Usually, when an athlete is injured, he or she is urged to seek medical attention right away. Some injuries like fractures may require surgery and others like strains require that the athlete rest for a while. The physician might prescribe pain medications or corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation. After this period, the athlete might be referred to a physical therapist. The type of physical therapy that the patient undergoes and how long it lasts will depend on what kind of injury the patient has sustained.

For example, a rotator cuff injury might lead the physical therapist to have the patient perform exercises like scapular locks to help him or her re-establish control over the shoulder blade. The patient might also perform resistance exercises like shoulder isometrics to strengthen his or her shoulder. As the shoulder strengthens, the physical therapist might have the patient perform sleeper stretches. The therapist might also use an electrical muscle simulator on the shoulder.

A physiotherapist treating an injury to one of the ligaments of the knee might have the patient perform static quadricep exercises like straight leg raises, single leg stands or core stability exercises. Electrical muscle stimulators can also be used. More advanced exercises might include hip hitches and box step-ups as well as bicycling.

The aim of these therapies is to repair the injury, end the athlete’s pain, and allow him or her to return to the sport.