Sports physical therapy is different from other forms of physical therapy in that it focuses primarily on those individuals that place strenuous activities and pressures on their bodies. As such, this therapy focuses on the upkeep and treatment of the athlete’s body and muscles.
Often the first step is the prevention of any injury that the athlete or otherwise sports focused individual may encounter. Education in this area can greatly serve the athlete. Knowing how to move, stretch, and exercise properly will prevent any kind of injury or mishap. If an injury should occur, however, the physical therapist will be able to assist and instruct the patient in how to continue on with little to no disruption and return to activity safely.
Sports physical therapy is critical in the evaluation of any injury that may be sustained while participating in competitions, tournaments, or even simple exercise. These therapists have the ability to ascertain the severity and range of any injury and then to make appropriate plans to rehabilitate the patient so they may return to the level of activity once enjoyed. The therapist will design routines, exercises and other procedures that will aid the patient in regaining normalcy and help return them to the state they were before the accident.
Improving the abilities of the athlete is another focus of sports physical therapy. Understanding limitations and problem areas of the athlete and then how to improve and strengthen these areas is another function of the therapist. The therapist can help the athlete with any number of physical areas such as endurance and flexibility. This is usually accomplished with a specific training guide or routine and is overseen by the therapist to ensure that the athlete is performing to the best of his capabilities.
Sports physical therapy also employs other therapeutic procedures and areas of concern. Top among them is the musculoskeletal system, including muscles which may become pulled or strained and require treatment and care. Hot and cold applications can be used to relieve the pain from such injuries. Fractured or broken bones are another common mishap and require special attention by the physical therapist to fully rehabilitate the athlete so that they may regain full use of the injured area once again.
Sports physical therapy, like physical therapy in general, focuses on the health and well being of the patient. The difference is that this area of study is more specialized and focuses on those that constantly put their bodies through rigors and harsh activities each day. That is why it is important for both the therapist and the athlete to follow all the guidelines and keep up with any treatment and exercise required.