Thursday, March 6, 2014

How physical therapy helps athletes

LANDSTUHL, Germany (Oct. 16, 2008) Physical th...

For a professional athlete, getting injured during a game or a practice can be a disaster. It can keep them from playing for anywhere from a couple days to a full season to their whole life, if they don't take care of it. Poor warm-up, poor training, or fatigue are all responsible for their fair share of nasty sports injuries. Sometimes it's none of those -- instead, something just goes wrong and a player falls or lands wrong. The question then is how to treat the injury.

While an injured non-athlete might be able to get back to their normal physical state by just waiting for the injured body part to heal, the stakes are a little bit higher for athletes, who push themselves further physically than much of the population. This means that often, some form of physical therapy or rehab is involved.

Physical therapy helps the athlete rebuild the necessary strength where they were injured. In some cases, it can prevent recurring issues or prevent permanent damage. A weak body part is susceptible to more serious injuries, so it's important to get the athlete back to full physical peak before they play again. This can be done with the use of exercises and stretches to build strength with the use of special therapeutic equipment.

The use of physical therapy depends heavily on the type of injury involved. The most common sports injuries are dislocations, sprains, strains, and swollen muscles, all of which have exercise specifically targeted toward healing them.

Athletes that find themselves doing the same motion all the time, such as tennis players or pitchers in baseball, may be at a greater risk for long-term repetitive motion injuries and can benefit from physical therapy exercises even before a major injury comes along. Conditions like tennis elbow and golfer's elbow are directly related to these motions, but the inflammation involved can be prevented or reduced with the use of physical therapy exercises.

Even after the injury has subsided, keeping up with the physical therapy exercises can prevent the injury from recurring or getting worse. Some athletes even visit physical therapists before any kind of injury has actually occurred. They then incorporate therapeutic exercises into their regular warm-up and stretching practices, which helps to strengthen potentially problematic limbs and joints.

For a injured athlete working with a physical therapist, they need to realize that healing with therapy will take time and dedication. Depending on the type of injury, it may be a long time before they are up to speed again, but the more faithfully they stick to their physical therapist's recommendations, the quicker they can expect to get back in the ga
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