Sports physical therapy is a branch of PT that most are familiar with – it involves physical therapists helping athletes of all sorts recover from injuries. Everyone who participates in sports, whether recreationally or professionally, is at a higher risk for injury than those who are more sedentary. Sports medicine physical therapy should be a part of all athletic training plans. We can break up those who benefit from sports PT into a few categories. These are injury rehabilitation, performance optimization, and injury prevention.
Athletes will face different injuries based on the sport or the type of exercise they do. Marathon runners will face injuries that are gradual and repetitive in nature. These are things like shin splints, runner’s knee, and stress fractures. Football or hockey players will face acute injuries, like ACL tears, shoulder dislocations, and broken bones. Physical therapy will involve helping patients recover from their injury by advising on short-term activity modification and exercises to improve the pain and mobility in the region.
Sports performance physical therapy is a great option for athletes who want to perform their sport at their best. Physical therapists are among the highest trained professionals on the function of the muscles and joints in the healthcare field. This means they are capable of helping athletes correct any muscle imbalances and help them gain the appropriate strength and endurance to achieve their performance goals.
Physical therapists are advocates for injury prevention. Preventing injuries from happening in the first place is the most sustainable way to keep athletes in the game. Physical therapists will examine the movement patterns of athletes, including very complex and demanding tasks, and develop a treatment plan for the areas at risk of injury. They do this by strengthening any weaknesses, improving the mobility of joints, and improving movement patterns that put any muscles, joints, or bones at risk of injury.