Whether it’s playing basketball, soccer, baseball, or simply enjoying a jog, sports and physical activities are an amazing part of life. Playing sports can help you stay fit, boost your mood, and help you connect with others. However, no matter how careful or skilled you are, sports come with the potential for injury. From knee injuries, ACL tears, shin splints, or groin pulls, sports can expose your body to a variety of injuries that can have long-lasting effects on your overall health and performance.
Luckily, physical therapy is an effective form of treatment for sports injuries. Physical therapy programs incorporate specific stretches and exercises that can relieve pain, improve mobility, boost performance, and most importantly, get you back in the game you love. In this blog, we’re looking at how physical therapy can treat sports injuries. As a holistic, non-invasive, and effective form of treatment, many athletes prefer physical therapy over more invasive types of care.
Here at Total PT, we understand that every patient’s road to recovery is unique. That’s why we create personalized physical therapy programs that address your specific healthcare and rehabilitation needs. Total PT provides a close, one-on-one care with Denver’s top physical therapists to treat a range of musculoskeletal injuries. Our evidence-based, hands-on approach to therapy can relieve pain, improve mobility, boost your physical performance, and enhance your overall wellness.
What is Physical Therapy?
Before we dig into how physical therapy can be used to treat sports-related injuries, it’s helpful to first define this form of treatment. Physical therapy works to treat a wide range of musculoskeletal injuries, injuries that affect your muscles, ligaments, joints, and skeletal structure. Receiving this type of care from a licensed physical therapist can relieve pain, improve mobility, and boost your overall physical performance. As a holistic type of care, it can also improve your overall wellness and help you ward off future injuries.
Physical therapy is broken down by a series of sessions. During these sessions, the patient works closely with their physical therapist by performing a series of stretches and exercises. For optimal results, most physical therapy programs require patients to perform certain stretches and exercises outside of these sessions, while at home. While physical therapy can offer quick pain relief, this type of treatment doesn’t work overnight. For physical therapy to be effective, it requires patience, dedication, and focus. But, as countless athletes and patients can attest, the results are worth it.
What are Common Sports Injuries?
While playing sports or engaging in physical activity, such as running or lifting weights, there’s always the potential for injury. While each injury is unique, there are several common types of sports-related injuries. Physical therapists train specifically to treat these types of injuries and more.
Here are some of the most common sports injuries:
- Knee injuries: according to recent studies, knee injuries account for over half of all sports-related injuries.
- ACL tears: the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) connects your thigh to your shinbone just at the knee. Sudden movements and hard impacts can strain, and in some cases, even tear your ACL.
- Shin splints: shin splints cause intense pain down the front of the leg that is commonly caused by a stress fracture in the shinbone. This injury is especially common in long-distance runners and sprinters.
- Tennis elbow: when the tendons in the elbow degenerate, this is known as tennis elbow and tends to impact older athletes. A similar condition, the golf elbow, is caused by inflammation of the epicondyle.
- Groin pulls: the groin is a muscle in the inner thigh that works to pull your legs together. Any sudden movement or direction change, such as you might do in soccer, basketball, or hockey, can pull this muscle.
In addition to these common sports injuries, professional physical therapists treat a range of musculoskeletal injuries. To find out if a physical therapist can help treat your sports injury, ask your doctor or call a local physical therapy office.
How Does Physical Therapy Treat Sports Injuries?
From professionals to those who just love to stay active, athletes of all kinds regularly see physical therapists to treat sports injuries and expedite their recovery. Not only that, but regular physical therapy can also improve your physical performance and give you an edge over the competition. What’s not to love?
But how exactly does physical therapy treat sports-related injuries? Physical therapy is an effective treatment that both strengthens muscles and improves flexibility and mobility. As a result, these specialized stretches and exercises can reduce pain and dramatically improve your recovery time. In addition to the physical therapy program based on stretches and exercises, physical therapists also utilize other forms of treatment to help athletes recover. Depending on your injury, they may also incorporate deep tissue massage, hot and cold therapy, Kinesio taping, or even dry needling to boost your recovery.
Additionally, it’s important to note that physical therapy is for everyone of all ages and fitness levels. Many mistakenly believe that physical therapy is only for professional athletes experiencing serious injuries. While physical therapy is effective for pro athletes (almost every professional sports team has a physical therapist on staff), it is also beneficial for “weekend warriors” or those who engage in sports or physical activities on a recreational basis.
By following a physical therapy program with specific stretches and exercises, any type of athlete can recover from injury faster and improve their overall performance. Receiving regular therapy can also strengthen your muscles and reduce your risk of future injuries.
Who Else Could Benefit From Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is ideal for reducing pain and treating sports injuries, but that’s not all. One of the reasons why physical therapy is so popular is because it can effectively treat a wide range of injuries and ailments. For any patient experiencing pain, limited mobility, or recovering from a serious accident or injury, physical therapy can be beneficial. In fact, many primary care physicians will refer their patients to receive physical therapy in tandem with other types of treatment. This can speed up recovery time and ensure a long-lasting recovery.
Who else could benefit from receiving physical therapy? If you’re experiencing one of the following conditions, talk to your doctor about the benefits of physical therapy.
- Sports injuries.
- Post-surgery recovery.
- Car accident recovery.
- Chronic pain.
- Muscle or joint injuries.
- Rehab after a stroke.
- Adapting to an artificial limb.
If you’re experiencing any of these conditions, reach out to your doctor or a local physical therapy office to see if physical therapy could help you in your recovery process.
Conclusion – How Does Physical Therapy Treat Sports Injuries?
Engaging in physical activity is a great way to stay healthy, make new friends, and improve your mental health. From professional sports to those who enjoy a long run around the block, staying active is essential for your health and wellness. But sports and physical activities, as great as they are, also present the risk of injury. If you’re experiencing a sports-related injury, physical therapy may be the ideal type of treatment to relieve pain and get you back in the game.
Total PT is your top choice for the best physical therapy care in Colorado. We pride ourselves on giving each of our patients optimal one-on-one access to Denver’s best physical therapists and our entire staff is dedicated to your recovery. If you’ve been in a car accident, experienced a sports injury, require post-surgical treatment, or need general physical therapy, we’re here to help. Our evidence-based physical therapy programs can provide quick pain relief, work to restore mobility, and even prevent future injuries. For athletes and weekend warriors, we can help you maintain optimal physical performance and keep you in the game.
Contact us today at Denver Total PT to learn more or schedule an appointment. Together, let’s get you back to the life you love.