Research shows that sports have a laundry list of benefits, from learning to work as a team to boosting self confidence to improving overall health. Professional athletes can even make significant amounts of money from their chosen sport. Yet anytime you push your body to excel, you increase your risk for injury. Physical therapy should be an integral part of your sports program for three key reasons.
Physical therapy is designed to identify areas of weakness or poor fitness, and to improve their functionality through targeted manipulation and exercise. We can tailor your physical therapy regimen to your preferred sport, helping you build the strength, flexibility, and endurance that you need. In addition, we will ensure that your overall fitness level is as high as possible, so that an issue such as a weak core will not bring down your performance.
Although there is no way to guarantee that you will never be injured, many sports injuries can be traced to either a bit of weakness somewhere in the body, or a lack of knowledge in how to handle the extreme forces that sports can exert on the body.
Common Sports Injuries: Although there are as many ways to be injured as there are people participating in sports, some injuries are quite common across all sports. These include, but are not limited to:
- Knee injuries
- Muscle strains
- Shin splints
- Swollen muscles
In addition, repetitive use injuries are particularly common in sports that require the same set of motions to be repeated again and again. This increases biomechanical stress and raises the risk of conditions such as tennis elbow.
Common Causes of Sports Injuries: There are numerous causes for sports injuries, but some are particularly common:
- Inadequate warm-up
- Lack of conditioning
- Over training
- Poor training
“Weekend warriors,” who spend the week at a desk and then train heavily on the weekends, are at particular risk, as are highly competitive athletes who do not take regular rest breaks. Those who participate in just one sport and are not diligent about cross-training are also at a heightened risk for injuries.
Our comprehensive sports injury prevention training is customized to your unique needs, and is designed to dramatically reduce your risk of injury. If you do end up injured, the extent of damage and subsequent recovery time will likely be much shorter if you have been through an injury prevention program.
If you are injured, a full sports rehabilitation program can get you back to peak fitness and help you create an action plan to minimize your risk of reinjury in the future. Healing is divided into three phases: acute, subacute, and chronic.
The acute phase features a plan of action known as PRICE (Prevention-Rest-Ice-Elevation). Your physical therapist will teach you to care for the injury, controlling swelling and inflammation while stimulating your body’s natural healing and reducing the risk of further injury.
After your injury is under control, you will move into the subacute phase. Research shows that it is vital to start moving around as quickly as possible, but overuse or improper use is likely to cause reinjury. Your physical therapist will design a customized program of both in-office and at-home stretching and strengthening exercises to improve your range of motion while minimizing pain. You may be able to return to limited sports training at this time, or you might be instructed to wait.
During the chronic phase, you will gradually return to your full pre-injury training program. Your injury is on its way to full healing, and your risk for reinjury is low. However, your body needs time to recover from the trauma and make the transition back to a tough training regimen. Your physical therapist will also address any underlying issues that may have contributed to your injury such as weak supporting muscles.
If you are in the market for a customized, innovative approach to physical therapy, please call Raritan Physical Therapy at (732) 662-4400 to schedule your initial assessment.