Exercise and physical activity are very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle but it is a fact that strenuous physical activity greatly increases the risk of soft tissue damage (ligaments, muscles and tendon) and bone injuries. The primary and secondary mode of therapies differs depending upon the nature and cause of injuries. In traumatic injuries, a more intensive surgical or medical therapy is needed but since most sports injuries are minor sprains, muscle pulls and ligament injuries that do not require any medical or surgical intervention, physical therapy alone is the best mode of therapy in majority of the cases. Moreover, in case of surgeries that involve major joints, rehabilitation is needed to improve healing and blood circulation which makes physical therapist an integral part of any sports team.
Some common sports injuries for which physical therapy is very helpful include abrasions, perhaps the most superficial and common forms of injuries. Ankle sprain is also another common and apparently simple form of sport injury that can occur when athletes perform vigorous activity without performing warm up exercises. Tearing of ligaments (ACL being the most common) is another injury that may limit the degree of movement across the knee joint and can affect the sports career of the athletes. Hamstring pull or strain or tear is reported frequently in running sports and the injury may be as minor as a sprain to as severe as muscle tearing. Bone fractures are also very common in athletes and require stabilization via surgeries, splinting and other modes of interventive care.
Athletes have a very limited scope of undergoing major surgeries and most of the athletes avoid adopting interventive medicine for a number of reasons like delay in healing that affects the performance and form of players, risk of damage to major or minor nerves and vessels as part of iatrogenic trauma or prolonged disability that limits the athlete to perform in sports activities.
Regular physical therapy in sportsmen improves range of motion across the joints, flexibility of muscles and promotes fitness as a whole by warming up muscles. It also helps in the development of small muscle fibers that are missed out in gym exercises. It’s the best mode of therapy for all age groups and all sports personnel that is equally effective in male and female players.
Physical therapy serves at stabilizing the tissues in the natural biochemical environment and helps in promoting blood circulation. Rehabilitation after any surgery and primarily sports surgery requires restoration of physical mobility via physical therapy that decreases the pain by washing off the pain-producing mediators and hasten tissue recovery by restoring optimal blood circulation across healing tissues.
Physical therapists are an essential part of all sports teams to enhance fitness in the team and to take care of minor tissue injuries to decrease the risk of inflammation related tissue damage. Physical therapists serve these important functions by sports education that serves to educate professional sports players regarding warm up exercises, tissue relaxing exercises and massage to prevent soaring of muscles. Education regarding appropriate postures during and after sports activities, machines and devices that promote blood supply to tissues, joints, muscles and bones and muscle strengthening exercise that stabilize tissues and provide support to ligaments, tendons and other parts of musculoskeletal system.