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Why Athletes Need Sports Physical Therapy

Feb 7, 2023

By Colin Kruse, PT, DPT | Foothills Peoria

You’ve probably heard of sports physical therapists if you’ve ever had an injury. They are professionals who work with athletes to help them get back into their game as soon as possible. The goal of a sports physical therapist is to help you recover from an injury—or prevent one from happening in the first place.

As an athlete, you can push yourself further than most people. You know there are limits, but you also know that you can push back those limits with hard work and perseverance. But no matter how hard you work at it, there are times when your body says “no more.” A sports physical therapist can help you get past those limits and back into the game faster than ever.

But how do they do it? This article explains what a sports physical therapist does, how they can help you recover from an injury, and why they’re essential to your health.

PT, helping athlete with flexibility, balance, and coordination.

What Is Sports Physical Therapy?

Sports physical therapy is a type of physical therapy that helps athletes recover from injuries and get back to their sport. It uses many methods as regular physical therapy but focuses on sport-specific injuries, such as sprains and strains.

Sports PT can benefit injured athletes because it improves mobility and reduces pain while helping you get back into shape more quickly so you can return to competition safely. If you are a serious athlete, getting the proper treatment and rehabilitation is essential to avoid chronic injuries and continue competing at a high level. A sports physical therapist can help you with a variety of issues, including:

  • Injury prevention and rehabilitation from injuries
  • Improving your strength and endurance, flexibility, balance, and coordination
  • Treating agility and performance problems such as muscle tightness or weakness
  • Working to prevent and treat sports injuries
  • Guiding nutrition and hydration when training for a specific sport

Sports physical therapy can accommodate your needs as an athlete while still providing you with adequate pain relief. This kind of treatment typically involves treating any injuries that may have occurred on the field or court and addressing common overuse injuries like shin splints and a runner’s knee (patellofemoral syndrome).

This therapy focuses on reducing inflammation to prevent further damage from occurring after an injury so that full recovery can occur as quickly as possible without causing other harm or setbacks along the way!

What are the Benefits of Sports Physical Therapy to Athletes?

Physical therapy is an integral part of any athlete’s recovery process because it helps to ensure that you’re getting back into the game safely, comfortably, and as quickly as possible. The benefits of sports therapy include the following:

  • Quick Recovery Time: Physical therapy can help significantly speed your recovery by addressing acute (short-term) injuries like strains and sprains and chronic (long-term) problems like a runner’s knee or shin splints.
  • Increased Flexibility: Many athletes tend to have tight muscles that aren’t allowing them to move correctly on the field—this can lead to further injuries or pain down the road if not addressed immediately.
  • Improved Coordination: Many athletes struggle with coordination, leading to missed passes or tackles. Sports physical therapy can help you improve your hand-eye coordination and reaction time so that you’re always ready for anything on the field.
  • Improved Speed, Agility, and Strength: Sports therapy can also help you build strength in essential muscle groups such as your hips and core stabilizers. You can become faster and have more stamina on the field, reducing your risk of injury.

Modalities Used at Foothills Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy

The modalities used in our clinics for sports physical therapy include:

Athlete using compression therapy to recover.

Compression Therapy

Compression therapy offers a new and innovative way to reduce swelling and inflammation in the legs and hips.

Benefits:
  • Reduces recovery time and soreness after hard workouts
  • Increases mobility
  • Decreases pain and inflammation
  • Improves circulation
  • Enhances blood flow and flushes post-exercise waste products, such as lactic acid
  • Customizable programs and settings for individualized recovery

Alter G Treadmill

Active recovery in low-intensity and low-impact exercise is one of the best ways to maintain consistency and fitness levels in training. The Alter G Anti-Gravity Treadmill offers athletes unparalleled active recovery in bodyweight-supported walking and running, utilizing NASA Differential Air Pressure (DAP) technology.

Benefits:
  • Recover sooner and train smarter for peak performance
  • Unweights you from 100% to as low as 20% of your body weight in precise 1% increments for low-impact PAIN-FREE
  • Real-time gait data and video monitoring help you use visual feedback to get better results faster.
  • Increase training volume while minimizing stress-related injury.
  • Encourages range of motion, shown to improve recovery and performance outcomes

Infrared Sauna

The infrared sauna improves your performance and daily life.

Benefits:
  • Accelerates recovery after strenuous workouts
  • Decreases pain and inflammation
  • Increases circulation
  • Boosts the body’s immune function by improving cellular health
  • Accelerates the body’s natural detox process through increased body temp

Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy supplements sunlight with wavelengths of red and NIR light. This helps supply the mitochondria with the light needed to boost ATP energy synthesis and power your body.

Benefits:
  • Improves range of motion
  • Increases energy and mood
  • Accelerates tissue healing

Athlete using electrical stimulation to recover.

Electrical Stimulation

The Marc Pro uses tiny electrical pulses on sore, overworked muscles to promote healing and relieve sore muscles.

Benefits:
  • Increases athletic performance
  • Accelerates recovery through improved circulation
  • It helps eliminate built-up cellular waste, such as lactic acid

Foothills offers FAST Performance Training

At Foothills, we understand that getting back into an exercise routine can be daunting, especially after recovering from a recent surgery or injury. In 2003, we created FAST Performance Training™ to help ease that transition and to extend our daily commitment to improving our patients’ lives. In addition, our strength and conditioning specialist works closely with our physical therapist to deliver functional, transitional rehabilitation programs specific to our patient’s recovery and needs.

Contact Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy today and request an appointment with a sports physical therapist. Our highly-trained, experienced therapists will help you get back to your sport as quickly as possible while minimizing the risk of further injury.

Colin Kruse, PT, DPT

by Colin Kruse, PT, DPT
Colin specializes in treating ACL injuries and helping athletes return to their sport. In addition, he enjoys implementing creative and new exercises to improve function and applying manual techniques to further recovery. Foothills Peoria

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