Almost all adolescents who play sports at the competitive level get injured at least once in a year, according to a study from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. Even professional athletes — with all of their coaching, practice, and skill — experience about 2,000 injuries per 10,000 players. That puts professional athletics in the top-five injury-prone occupations.
David Lintner, MD, an orthopedic and sports medicine specialist treats sports injuries at Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Houston, serving both Houston and Baytown, Texas. However, Dr. Lintner believes the best form of treatment is prevention. That’s why he recommends physical therapy for all athletes — whether they’ve already been injured or are healthy.
Physical therapy helps you build good habits
You may be familiar with using physical therapy to help heal and build strength after an injury. But physical therapy can prevent injuries, too. By working with a physical therapist, you learn about how to keep your body strong and injury-free by:
- Warming up properly
- Training selectively
- Cooling down
- Getting enough sleep
- Staying hydrated
- Eating a nutritious diet
Physical therapists promote a healthy lifestyle and make suggestions about how better to nourish your body and get the rest and restoration you need to function at your peak.
Physical therapy makes your movements efficient
When you play a sport, you make repetitive motions, whether it’s swinging a bat, throwing a ball, or running and stopping quickly. Repetitive use injuries are common in athletes, which is why you’re at more at risk for injuries to your:
Our team evaluates the way you perform repetitive movements and makes suggestions about how to make them more efficient. Using your joints properly helps keep them safe and reduces your risk for injury.
We also make recommendations about how you approach training, so that you don’t over-train. Pushing your body too hard — especially if you haven’t gotten the restorative sleep you need — increases your risk for injury.
Physical therapy repairs and strengthens
If you do get an injury, Dr. Lintner may first advise conservative treatment, which consists of the RICE protocol (Rest, Icing, Compression, Elevation), and over-the-counter pain medications. To speed your recovery, he may recommend physical therapy before other interventions. If you don’t improve with conservative treatment, he may recommend surgical repair.
When you’re recovering from surgery or an injury, physical therapy aids the healing process. Gentle stretching exercises release tension and stress in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Massage stimulates the flow of blood to the area to remove toxins and provide nutrients.
Our team also custom-designs a program to strengthen the area that was injured. Your exercises may consist of site-specific rehabilitation or emphasize strengthening your entire body.
If you’d like to prevent injuries, or if you need treatment for a current injury, call us at the office nearest you, or set up an appointment online.