Sports Medicine: Why Physical Therapy To Treat Injuries?

For an athlete, there is nothing more terrifying than injuring the body during play. Whether they are playing kickball at the company picnic or it’s Lebron James in game 7 of the championships, there is an uncertainty of the future at the time of an injury. Treating an injury with physical therapy is a vital part of returning an athlete to top form and is a necessary part of sports injury rehabilitation.

Prevention
A huge benefit of physical therapy is the ability to prevent sports injuries from ever happening in the first place, eliminating the need for post-injury treatment. Harvard Medical School recommends preventative physical therapy through a variety of different techniques. Citing the importance of pre-game warm ups, exercise, and stretching they note that stretching regularly will help warm up tight muscles and reduce the risk of athlete injury. This sort of preventative therapy is simple and goes a long way to prepare muscles and prevent injuries.

Injuries
Physical therapy can be used to treat a wide array of injuries, from minor tweaks to major post-surgery work. Just some of the injuries that can be treated through physical therapy are:

Achilles tendon injuries

ACL injuries

Back pain

Muscle strains

Runner’s knee

Shin splints

Sports hernia

Sprains

Tennis elbow

These injuries can span a wide array of sports and can often be treated without the use of pharmaceuticals when physical therapy is being used. During play, physical therapy can be utilized to prepare an injured athlete to return to playable form during a match or game. This technique allows for non-invasive treatment while still being effective.

Self-treatment
A huge medical benefit of physical therapy is the ability of the athlete to continue treatment on their own. Self-treatment allows for healing and care not to be confined to one facility or locker room, but can be continued in the home to promote healing time. As noted in the New York Times, “…the therapist can do an evaluation and tell you what muscles are weak or tight, can design a personal exercise program and can teach you the exercises.” This allows the athlete to continue healing and resume normal activities as they progress.

The goal of physical therapy is to restore the athlete’s range of motion to pre-injury performance. Physical therapy encourages the preventative side of this, attempting to eliminate injuries before they happen. Consulting a physical therapist on pre-game stretches and warm ups will benefit any athlete to target necessary muscles. Should an injury occur, physical therapy can be used in that instance as well. It is a non-invasive measure to promote healing and return athletes to top shape.