Sports physical therapists help rehabilitate athletes who have sustained physical injuries. They diagnose problems and evaluate patient progress throughout a treatment plan.
Sports physical therapy involves evaluation, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. This specialization is also concerned with performance enhancement. They spend time teaching preventative techniques to athletes, families, coaches and even other physical therapists. Sports physical therapists work with doctors to develop programs to help athletes manage pain and recuperate from injuries. Work can be physically demanding; physical therapists often stand for long periods and assist patients within the process of therapy. They also play a role in assessing when someone is ready to return to physical activity.
Common Sports Injuries
- Concussion – caused by severe head injury where the brain moves violently within the skull so that brain cells all fire at once, much like a seizure
- Muscle cramps – a sudden tight, intense pain caused by a muscle locked in spasm. Muscle cramps are also recognized as an involuntary and forcibly contracted muscle that does not relax
- ACL sprains – The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a ligament involved in knee stabilization. An ACL rupture can occur when the foot is planted and the knee twists to change direction.
- Ankle sprain – The ligaments that hold the ankle bones in place can easily be overstretched.
- ACL tears – The anterior cruciate ligament; one of four major knee ligament necessary for comfortable knee movement, tears, causing major pain and causes the knee to “give out”. The knee ACL can tear for a number of reasons.
- Shin splints – The tissue that attaches the muscles of your lower leg to the shin bone may be pulling away from the bone, or it may be inflamed from overuse.
- Muscle strains – tears in muscle that cause pain and or loss of function
- Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is a condition in which the outer part of the elbow becomes sore and tender. The forearm muscles and tendons become damaged from overuse — repeating the same strenuous motions again and again.