The University of Rochester Medical Center reports that about 30 million children and teenagers in the U.S. participate in some form of organized sports. According to the medical center’s website, sprains and strains form the major part of the 3.5 million or so injuries that occur each year. Contact with other players and sporting activity that causes overuse or misuse of a body part are the main reasons for sport-related injuries.
In the case of professional athletes, injury results in time out from sports, leading to decreased performance and loss of earnings. In the case of recreational athletes or those who compete at a lower level, lack of participation reduces the level of fitness, enjoyment and health status.
Physical therapy is crucial for the prevention, management and rehabilitation of sports injuries. Physical therapists who specialize in this field work with two basic goals:
- Help the individual return to their pre-injury level of functioning quickly
- Implement various strategies to help avoid re-injury
Physical therapy programs designed specifically for injured athletes can help them recover from issues such as muscular pain, back pain, knee pain, ankle pain, dysfunction in joints, neck injuries, and much more. Treatment modalities would include Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), ultrasound for soft tissue injuries, traction, rehabilitation programs, ice or heat application, massage and myofascial Release, and injury prevention education
A multi-specialty healthcare center is the optimal place for treatment. Physical therapists need to work with other specialists to help their patients recover from sport-related injuries. In a professional healthcare center, the multi-specialty team would include physical therapists, massage therapists, sports physicians, chiropractors, and other healthcare professionals. Psychological or behavioral techniques would also be used to treat patients. The right center would offer specialized physical therapy programs to suit the specific needs of active individuals of all ages and levels of activity.