About Sports & Orthopedic Rehab

TSports injuries have sidelined many athletes for games, seasons, and worse, careers. Injuries are common while participating in organized sports, competitions, training exercises, or fitness activities. Poor training methods, inadequate warm-up, and lack of conditioning are a few of the causes of sports injuries.

Coping with sports injuries often requires physical rehabilitation. Physical therapy helps people rebuild strength and movement in parts of their body after an injury. Therapy can also help someone manage pain and prevent permanent damage and recurring problems. Each sport carries its own risk of injury for the athlete.

Physical therapists are trained to help patients recover following an injury. As part of physical therapy, they can teach exercises, stretches, and techniques using specialized equipment to address problems.

Common Sports Injuries

According to the National Institutes of Health, the most common sports injuries include sprains, strains, knee injuries, swollen muscles, shin splints, fractures, and dislocations. These injuries should be appropriately addressed in order to keep the athlete safe. It is useful to examine the biomechanics of an athlete participating in a particular sport, therapists say.

It is common for these athletes to develop similar injuries such as lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), inflammation or pain on the outside of the upper arm near the elbow; medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow), inflammation or pain on the inner side of the upper arm near the elbow; or “Tommy John” injury for pitchers, which is an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament of the elbow.

Sports Injuries and Treatment

Physical therapists need to understand the involved and injured structure and the extent of the injury before treating it. Rehabilitation of an injured athlete should carefully be evaluated on a daily basis. Injuries are time-dependent, which means that the normal healing process follows a pattern of acute phase, subacute phase, and chronic phase.

The acute phase involves the R.I.C.E. (Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation) principle, which allows for healing to take place and controls inflammation.

The subacute phase also is a control motion phase, however, the athlete may carefully perform active-assisted range of motion exercises and strengthening exercises. And the chronic phase is a return to function phase in which the athlete progressively returns to pre-injury workout routines.

In addition to injuries to muscles, joints, and bones, concussions are a hot topic in sports today. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that may result in bad headaches, an altered level of alertness, or unconsciousness. It may result when the head hits an object or a moving object strikes the head. Athletes in all sports are at risk of a sports-related concussion, but the most at risk are athletes who participate in football, boxing, hockey, rugby, and snow skiing.

Physicians, athletic trainers, and physical therapists continue to gain more knowledge in preventing and diagnosing sports injuries. Although some procedures would remain the standards of care, the means to address the injuries could change.

For more information, contact our physical therapists at our Jackson, WY or Alpine, WY locations to learn more.