THERAPY FOR ATHLETES
Physical Therapy for Athletes
When athletes are sidelined by injury, physical therapy is typically an integral part of their recovery. However, physical therapy isn’t just for recovery from injury. If athletes wish to run faster, jump higher, undergo strengthening exercises, or improve their overall performance, physical therapists can help them accomplish these, as well. Many physical therapists have advanced degrees that encompass numerous aspects of non-surgical neurologic and orthopedic care. As musculoskeletal specialists, physical therapists are highly skilled at injury rehabilitation. However, they also have expertise in maximizing athletic potential, whether it be a pitcher who wants to throw the ball harder or further, or a wide receiver looking to explode faster off the scrimmage line.
More Than Just Treating Injuries
Physical therapy services can help bridge the gap between traditional rehabilitation and performance or strength training. Using a whole-person approach to each injury, physical therapists offer a complete evaluation of the injury and surrounding areas. They look for deficiencies and weaknesses that could have played a role in causing the damage.
Physical therapists provide one-on-one care designed to treat the injury and the overall person, as well. A physical therapist works to understand each person’s unique physical challenges, leading to the potential for better and quicker results and a reduced risk of future injury.
Physical therapists work to make sure that plans are fully integrated. This is especially significant for athletes who are working to move from injured status to active rehabilitation to back on the playing field. Physical therapists have an in-depth understanding of musculoskeletal function and can provide an optimal recovery plan.
Exposing Underlying Weaknesses and Problems
Physical therapists use orthopedic testing, measurements, and assessments to treat athletes who are injured. These evaluations expose musculoskeletal weaknesses in otherwise fit and healthy athletes. Physical therapists review an athlete’s thorough medical history, including prior injuries and pre-existing medical conditions. They can then identify any conditions that are holding an athlete back from achieving their full potential. While strength training is also a beneficial option, physical therapists can identify underlying functional problems that are limiting the athlete.
Combining Disciplines for Optimal Performance
Given a physical therapist’s ability to treat injuries and also to help maximize athletic potential, it’s not surprising that recent years have seen a bridge between the fields of physical therapy and performance and strength training. An integrated approach can help to determine if an athlete is capable of performing routine movements appropriately. It can also help to identify weaknesses, and then develop a training program to correct those weaknesses. Thus, physical therapists and personal trainers can create a seamless treatment and sports training protocol that identifies risk factors while still achieving the desired performance goals.
Communication and Cooperation
The key to an athlete’s success and safety depends upon communication and cooperation. Physicians, physical therapists, personal trainers, coaches, and parents are all an integral part of an athlete’s foundation for success and peak performance. When working together harmoniously, these professionals can minimize the risk of injury and maximize every athlete’s opportunity for success.