Sports injuries are incredibly common this time of year. Football season is in full swing, basketball season is right around the corner, and the MLB season has just wrapped up, meaning offseason workouts are right around the corner. All of these sports can lead to a wide variety of injuries for athletes. Luckily, physical therapy can help get you back on the field or court faster and more safely than simply icing the injury and resting for a few days. There are many ways physical therapy can help athletes recover from injuries they may sustain playing their sports. For those of you who may be suffering from a lingering summer injury, we’ve got you covered. Summer injury sufferers and new injury sufferers can find a few ways PT can help.
- TORN ACL
A torn ACL is a very common injury sustained by football players. The use of more turf fields as opposed to grass has made these kinds of injuries increasingly prevalent in recent years. Modern surgical practices and a great physical therapy recovery program can have you back to normal faster than ever before. Before you undergo ACL surgery, your therapist will likely recommend prehab treatment. This is a program to strengthen your leg and reduce swelling in your knee before surgery to make the recovery process easier once you get back on your feet. After surgery you will slowly begin exercises, including walking progressing to jogging and eventually sprinting, and various single leg exercises to restore your strength and mobility to that of your uninjured leg.
Concussions are a serious topic in the sports world, specifically when it comes to football players. While new helmet technology and rules have helped decrease concussions, they are still prominent in the sport. However, what many people don’t know is that physical therapy can be a big part of concussion recovery. Your therapist can design a recovery program for you, to help restore your balance, gait, and stability as your symptoms slowly diminish. Much of this program will consist of balance training and progressive physical activities, including walking and jogging.
- RUPTURED/TORN ACHILLES TENDON
A torn Achilles tendon is a major risk for any basketball player, especially as you get older. Just this June, Kevin Durant suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in the NBA Finals. Just like him, you too can recover using physical therapy. One of the challenges of recovering from this injury is the shortening of the tendon. A physical therapy program will include many stretching and flexibility exercises early on to reduce this risk, and that you begin to get mobility back in the area. Your program will likely progress to strengthening exercises and mobility exercises as the repaired tendon gets stronger.
- ANKLE SPRAINS
As basketball is a sport that requires a lot of jumping and footwork, the most common injuries occur to the lower extremities. Much like an Achilles tear, an ankle sprain is a frequent problem for basketball players. While not as debilitating, it can still be incredibly painful for a period of time. Your physical therapist will create a program for you, including range-of-motion exercises, like writing the alphabet with your big toe, and towel curls with your foot. Once the pain and swelling subside, more strengthening and balance exercises will be introduced.
- TOMMY JOHN
Tommy John surgery is the common name for the reconstruction of a torn UCL, ulnar collateral ligament, in the elbow. It is a frequent injury baseball players suffer, especially pitchers. Typically, rehab for this injury is about 8-10 months, and your physical therapist can help you with an individualized program every step of the way. Initially, you will begin with simple flexibility and range of motion exercises to get your elbow bending again. Afterwards, you will progress to shoulder and scapula exercises to help strengthen the area around your injured elbow and prevent future injuries. Four to five months into rehab, your therapist will progress you into light throwing and short tosses in limited numbers, before eventually getting you back to full strength.
- TORN ROTATOR CUFF
A torn rotator cuff is another common injury among baseball players. All of the throwing, especially long throws can put a lot of strain on the shoulder. However, upon recovery, your physical therapist can help you get back to 100% and prevent future issues. Stretches like the doorway stretch, where your injured forearm is upright at a 90 degree angle on a doorway, and you gently lean forward to stretch the shoulder will be one of the key components of recovery. They will also include things like external shoulder rotations and reverse fly exercises.
Physical therapy can help you recover from injuries in nearly any part of your body. From head to toe, your physical therapist can help you get back to full health. While these are just a few major injuries that may occur while playing sports, physical therapy is a great way to recover from the many other various injuries you can suffer from too.
At Access Physical Therapy & Wellness we are dedicated to helping our patients feel the best they can. If you need advice or assistance in getting back to feeling your best, contact one of our 35+ locations. To find out the closest location to you, visit www.accessptw.com.