Though you may do all you can to avoid a sports injury—warming up, using the best gear, perfecting your technique, not playing through pain—accidents can still happen. When they do, consulting a specialist is key to recovery and preventing further issues. Here are some reasons why physical therapy is essential after you’ve suffered a sports injury:
Physical Therapy Can Help Reduce or Eliminate Pain and Swelling
When a person suffers an injury, one of the most common ways their body might respond is with swelling. This rush of blood to the injured area can cause the skin to become red and hot, and can also cause further pain. This pain is caused by the excess blood compressing nerves in the area, and while it does hurt, it serves an important purpose: namely, keeping the injured person from putting weight on their injury and potentially hurting themself even more.
However, while swelling and pain can be helpful for healing initially, prolonged inflammation can cause chronic pain, chronic swelling, and muscle atrophy. Chronic swelling can be particularly problematic, causing the tissue to become rigid and making reinjury more possible. However, with the help of a physical therapist, swelling and the pain that comes with it can be reduced or eliminated, both increasing your comfort and preventing future issues.
Prevent Worsening Your Injury and Avoid Surgery
With your favorite sport or activity calling your name, it can be hard to resist the temptation to ignore or play through an injury. However, without treatment, these kinds of injuries can become much more severe. For instance, a mild concussion can turn into a serious brain injury, or a sprain can turn into a torn ligament. Basically, due to how quickly a small injury can turn into a large one, meeting with a physical therapist as soon as possible is an important part of preventing your injury from worsening.
Plus, participating in physical therapy can help you avoid undergoing surgery for your injuries. For many athletes, the mere thought of surgery can be overwhelming—surgery and its often lengthy recovery can take a person out of the game for a very long time. While there are situations in which surgery can’t be avoided, typically, regularly meeting with a great physical therapist can typically help keep you out of an operating room.
Maintain Strength, Flexibility, and Balance with Physical Therapy
Regardless of your sport or other athletic activity, your strength, flexibility, and balance are important to your ability to perform. These aspects of athleticism allow you to be at your best, but when you suffer a sports injury, these abilities suffer, as well. Your body purposefully makes movement uncomfortable not only through swelling but by limiting your range of motion and tightening your muscles, causing inactivity and decreased ability.
However, with proper physical therapy and a customized care plan, you can restore, maintain or even improve these abilities. Not only will this help with your recovery and return to activity, but it will help you prevent injury in the future, as well.
Recover More Quickly
If you’ve suffered a sports injury, chances are you’ll want to return to your sport or other activity as soon as you possibly can. However, with an untreated injury, doing so is at best uncomfortable and at worst dangerous and permanently damaging. By understanding the importance of physical therapy and meeting regularly with your , you’ll be able to reduce your pain, maintain or restore your strength, mobility, and balance, and ultimately gain the control and confidence you need to make a full recovery and get back to it!