How A Sports Physical Therapist Helps You Recover From An Injury

If you're active in any kind of sports, even if it is just as a hobby, you'll want to take proper care of any injuries you receive. Not treating a sports injury right away with professional guidance could result in permanent consequences that affect your future ability to play sports. Plus, when you need to recover from a sports injury, you want to heal it as quickly as possible so you can get back to the sports you love. A sports physical therapist can be a big help in your recovery. Here are some ways they treat sports injuries.

Treating Pain

If you have sudden pain and swelling after a fall or while running, you should apply ice as soon as possible to keep swelling down. You may be told to rest initially, but you don't want to stay sedentary too long, or your recovery may be longer. A physical therapist can help during the early stages of an injury with different pain management techniques. This might include alternating cold packs and heat pads or using an ultrasound device. You might be given a splint or other device to wear to stabilize the area so you can move without pain. Exercises may begin even in the early stages of an injury to keep your muscles flexible.

Balancing Muscles

If you perform a repetitive motion with the type of sports you play, you are at higher risk of injury and slower recovery. That's because some muscles are overdeveloped, and others are underdeveloped. A physical therapist assesses your body movements and muscle condition to determine if you need strengthening exercises to help your muscles to be balanced. This can reduce strain in the injured area, so it has a chance to heal.

Increasing Range Of Motion

One problem you may encounter if you don't work with a physical therapist is decreased range of motion in the injured area. This develops because the area becomes stiff due to inflammation and weak from not being used due to pain. Decreased range of motion could affect your performance in sports, so you want to prevent it. One thing that helps is gentle stretching exercises. Exercising and stretching under the guidance of a physical therapist is safe because you aren't allowed to do too much too soon. Plus, you are taught the exact movements you need to do for your condition, and you're supervised initially until you learn to do them correctly.

Preventing Further Injuries

A side effect of a sports injury is that it can put you at risk of further injury. A small tear in a tendon can get bigger and slow down recovery considerably. This can be prevented partly by not resuming your usual activities too soon. However, an important part of preventing further injury is to understand what puts you at risk. An accident such as a trip and fall may not be possible to prevent, but if the injury occurred because of poor body mechanics or the need for supportive equipment, then a physical therapist can help.

Developing your body as a whole rather than focusing on a certain area such as your arms or legs can help you maintain good posture and body mechanics. Also, wearing orthotics or other support devices when you need them can be important during recovery and for avoiding future injuries.

A sports physical therapist plays an important role for professional athletes, but you don't have to be a pro to benefit from seeing a physical therapist. They treat athletes of all skill levels and ages so you can stay active and heal quicker from your injury. For more information, contact a company like Atlantic Physical Therapy Center.

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