What’s the most effective way to get back on the playing field after a sports injury? Completing a comprehensive rehabilitation program.
Proper rehabilitation after a sports injury is essential if you want to get back to your favorite sport or activity. It’s smart to start as soon as possible. That’s because a body recovering from an injury is often a body that doesn’t move correctly. Over time, you’ll end up compensating, which can lead to more issues.
A good place to start is making an appointment with a physical therapist (PT). A PT can evaluate your injury and set up a treatment plan based on your goals. Your plan may include stretching and strengthening as well as manual therapy and learning how to move correctly. How often you see your PT will depend on the nature of your injury and the goals you discussed with your therapist.
Although there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment plan, most patients move through the following stages during rehabilitation:
- Stage 1 -
Increase range of motion.
- Stage 2 -
Regain and improve strength, balance and flexibility.
- Stage 3 -
Add sport-specific drills, such as running, squatting and agility exercises.
- Stage 4 -
Slowly return to play.
It’s important that you’re fully healed before returning to your sport or activity. If not, it can end up prolonging your injury or causing other issues that lead to more time off. When done correctly, rehabilitation prevents these long-term complications.
Here’s how to get the most out of sports injury rehabilitation:
- Keep an open line of communication – It’s important to be honest with your care team about how your injured area feels as well as if there are any new aches or pains. Knowing this information can help us adjust and make changes to your treatment plan.
- Commit to doing your home exercises – It’s one thing to go through your exercises and drills during a PT session. It’s another to do them on your own. The exercises you do at home will help you progress faster so you can get back to play as soon as possible.
- Comply with your treatment plan – If you’re feeling good, it might be tempting to stray from your plan and jump back into your regular training. But remember – your treatment plan has a purpose and doing too much too soon could bump you back to square one.
- Learn how to prevent future injuries – Use your time with your PT to learn injury prevention strategies.
Edward-Elmhurst Health takes care to match patients with the right physical therapist for their rehabilitation needs. Every case is unique and we make sure we’re doing everything we can to make sure our patients get to the highest level of function possible.
To learn more about physical therapy and rehabilitation, visit EEHealth.org. To schedule an appointment, call 630-527-3375 (Edward) or 331-221-6050 (Elmhurst), or schedule an appointment online.
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