Sports Injury Rehabilitation

When an athlete becomes injured, he or she may require a period of rehabilitation before competing again.

The objective is for the athlete to recover as quickly and safely as possible with the best outcome. Sports physical therapists specialize in applying proper exercises and therapeutic modalities to achieve the athlete’s goals. Many sports physical therapists have additional certification and training in working with athletes.

A Sports Physical Therapist will be working with the following goals in mind.

  1. Decrease the pain level of the patient, using manual techniques like massaging or modalities such as electrical stimulation, heat, or cold.
  2. Improve the range of motion in an affected limb or area with manual techniques such as massage; passive or assisted exercise; and with modalities such as ultrasound, hydrotherapy or a combination of several of these.
  3. Increase strength to a functional level by using weight machines, free weights, the athlete’s body weight, and static resistance.
  4. Improve agility, quickness, reaction time, speed, proprioception, and eventually sport-specific performance in preparation for returning to practice and competition.
    It’s important that an athlete is trained in a manner that simulates his or her sport towards the end of therapy. For example, a football player with a torn ACL requires a much different recovery plan compared to a baseball player with a torn rotator cuff.

Applied knowledge of sport-specific rehabilitation and exercises enables sports PTs to help their clients achieve a level of physical ability that will allow both a safe and optimal return to competition.