If you are an avid sports player, you know just how thrilling it can be when you throw a strike across the plate, nail that free throw, or kick the winning goal in a tie game. Sports gives you a chance to push yourself to your limits, and rise to any challenge with gusto.
You probably also know just how dangerous sports can be. Rotator cuff injuries from pitching can require arthroscopic shoulder surgery, regular wear and tear to your knees could mean severe knee injuries, and a broken ankle may need the help of the best ankle surgeon in order to get you back out on the soccer field again.
While your teams probably have certified athletic trainers, one of the most important recovery tools is physical therapy. Physical therapy clinics are staffed with qualified therapists that specialize in helping patients regain mobility after several different surgeries and injuries. They evaluate the extent of the injury, determine which physical therapy exercises will optimize recovery, and adjust the therapy according to your progress.
One of the main benefits of making regular trips to physical therapy clinics is that it can shorten your recovery time. With many injuries, patients are required to immobilize the affected region of the body. This often results in stiffness, making the return to normal functioning extremely difficult. A therapist will work with the injured bone or muscle using specific stretching, rolling, and movement techniques to increase mobility to the body. For example, a shoulder surgery may require a patient to keep their shoulder immobilized during the healing period, but afterward, a physical therapist will use different tools such as a shoulder pulley or a shoulder ladder to gradually increase the patient’s range of motion.
Another advantage of working with physical therapists is that they are highly trained in how the body works. They are often required to have a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree to practice in many physical therapy clinics, and must take several classes on biology, physiology, anatomy, chemistry, neuroscience, pharmacology, and physics. Once they finish school, every state requires licensing and a passing grade on the state board exam. Many physical therapists also seek extra certification in specific areas of therapy, which requires about 2,000 hours of clinical work before they can practice.
The expertise that physical therapist bring to their work is part of the reason why more people seek this kind of therapy now than ever before. The rate of employment for physical therapists is much faster than the average for any other job, with a projected growth rate of 35% by 2020. This is partly due to the baby boomer population, members of which continus to remain active in the latter years of their life, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increase in the need for physical therapists also could be an indication of the danger that lies in sports play, as more than a million children are injured playing sports every year.
But with the help of a qualified, trained physical therapist, most injuries can be managed, and eventually overcome. The right physical therapy can be the key to full recovery, and getting your body back to normal. You can then get back to the mound, shoot more hoops, and keeping scoring the goals for your team.