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How Physical Therapy Can Improve Sports Performance

A survey of patients seeking drug-free pain relief found that 41% were most likely to choose sports physical therapy as an alternative treatment. Physical therapy is much more than just treatment for people who are injured. Sports performance can be a process with many different components, including physical fitness, strength, endurance, and flexibility. It is important for athletes to work closely with a sports-specific physical therapist to develop an individualized care plan. In this article, you will learn the benefits of physical therapy and how it can help you improve sports performance.

Who is at Risk of Sports Injuries?

All sports have a risk of injury, but, for most young athletes, the benefits—such as improved fitness and teamwork skills—outweigh the risks. Unfortunately, millions of people (including children) suffer from severe sports injuries annually. Research suggests that approximately 75% of all sports injuries result from muscle overuse. Certain people are more prone to sports injuries:

  • Young athletes: Most injuries in young athletes happen because they’ve put too much strain on their bodies without giving them time to recover adequately between workouts or games.
  • Previously injured athletes: Every movement requires the use of multiple muscles with varying strengths and capacities. A previous injury can lead to weaknesses in one or more of these muscles increasing the risk of future injury to the same or even another body part.
  • Unaware athletes: Most athletes are unaware of muscle imbalance as a major factor for most injuries. Muscles are used for specific motions and speeds movement. The bigger muscle fibers (e.g., deltoid, pectoralis major) and smaller ones (e.g., biceps brachii) each can generate power and speed of movement depending on the demands of the required action.
  • Older Athletes: With increased age as well as the associated lifestyle and exercise changes, there are compound risk factors for sports, recreational, and fitness injuries in older adults.

5 Sports Injury Statistics

  1. Injuries involving sports and recreational equipment accounted for 3.2 million emergency department visits in the United States in 2021, with exercise, cycling, and basketball being the leading causes of injury.
  2. It is estimated that more than 3.5 million children ages 14 and under are injured each year while playing sports or taking part in other recreational activities.
  3. Bicycle, skateboarding, and skating accidents account for almost 50 percent of all head injuries sustained in sports or recreational activities. Illustrating the need for wearing helmets designed for each sport or activity.
  4. More than 775,000 children ages 14 and younger are treated in hospital emergency rooms for sports-related injuries each year. Most of these injuries occurred because of falls or collisions during unorganized or informal activities.
  5. Although death from a sports injury is rare, brain injuries are the leading cause of death among athletes. Sports and recreational activities contribute to approximately 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among American children.

10 Ways Physical Therapy Can Improve Your Sports Performance

Whether you’re a beginner, or a seasoned athlete, physical therapy can make all the difference in your sports performance. Get ready for a new you with our list of 10 great ways physical therapy can decrease the risk of injury and improve your sports performance!

  • More Flexibility: Flexibility can make you leaner, more agile and allow you to make sharper more explosive movements.
  • Power: Power helps you generate more force (think of throwing a ball farther) and will allow you to withstand greater resistance during heavy lifts or when playing sports.
  • More Strength: To get the most out of your muscles while limiting the risk of injury, you should strengthen them. Physical therapy targets areas you rely on most so that they can perform at their peak level.
  • Endurance: besides being able to improve your cardiovascular endurance, we can help you understand why certain muscles cramp or become fatigued during exercise. Endurance is the ability to exert energy for more than few minutes without rest.
  • Improve Mobility: Mobility is the foundation of successful sports performance. Physical therapists can help you improve your ability to move by providing increased motor control of your core muscle groups and extremities.
  • Providing extra stability: A physical therapist can increase the probability that the muscles in your body are properly engaged and will help you correct weak areas and increase functional ability, which helps reduce injuries like groin pulls and sports hernias. They can also work with orthotics to provide extra stability in your feet.
  • Improving athletic performance: Physical therapy can improve specific movement patterns, boosting your sports performance.
  • Range of motion: Joint range of motion is essential for functional mobility; physical therapists can help you overcome the obstacles limiting movement patterns required for desired activities.
  • Decreasing the development of pain, inflammation, swelling, and scar tissue: Whether it’s a sprained ligament or a muscle strain, the chances are good that you will deal with pain, inflammation, swelling, and the possibility of scar tissue formation at the injured body part. A physical therapist can help reduce the risk of developing these impairments. Therefore, early injury treatment by a physical therapist can minimize injury severity, decreasing the time of recovery.
  • Improving ability to walk, run, and perform multidirectional activities: Various injuries will initially limit your ability walk. Physical therapist will guide you to being able to walk once again. Then progressed through higher functional levels to be able to run and eventually excel at multidirectional movement patterns.

Twin Boro Sport Physical Therapy has a team of qualified and trained physical therapists dedicated to improving the quality of life through personalized PT and rehabilitation programs.

What Does Sports Physical Therapy Include?

Sports physical therapy includes interventions for the prevention and treatment of sports related injuries. It is used to treat injuries no matter the level of sports participation. Also, sports physical therapy is not dependent on the severity or cause of an injury. At Twin Boro Physical Therapy, we have experienced therapists who are skilled in helping players return to playing condition. Here are some techniques:

  • Strength Training: It increases muscle strength by making muscles work against resistance.
  • Power Training: to rapidly generate force for maximizing performance.
  • Agility Training: multidirectional interventions for improving balance, while developing quicker feet and faster reaction time.
  • Endurance Training: whether a single event taking more than a few minutes to a sport or activity spanning a long interval of time, an individual needs to be able to produce energy over these time periods.
  • Hands-on Care: Physical therapy combining hands on manual therapy techniques with exercise interventions planned by a physical therapist is a very effective way to treat sports related injuries and related disabilities.

How Long Does Sports Physical Therapy Take to Work?

The time it takes to recover from a sports injury varies widely depending on the severity and complexity of the injury. When each is low, the time requiring physical therapy interventions may only range from days to a few weeks. As severity and complexity increase the duration needing physical therapy will most likely increase by weeks to months. However, no matter the injury, the sooner the care of a physical therapist is involved, the probability of a quicker and safer recovery goes up dramatically.

At-Home Physical Therapy Exercises

Staying active and healthy at home with telehealth services remains an option. However, before beginning a new exercise program, you may want to talk with your primary care provider, or you may decide to go directly to a physical therapist for guidance in the care of a sports or fitness activity injury. The award-winning patient experience at Twin Boro will compel you to book a consultation with a Twin Boro Physical Therapist for physical therapy exercises and other interventions designed for you to do in the safety and comfort of your own home.

Why Choose Twin Boro for Sports Physical Therapy?

At Twin Boro, we strive to create an environment of trust and confidence. We understand that each of our patients has a unique fitness challenge, and we are here to listen and help you realize your goals. We bring our expertise to bear by providing sports physical therapy for athletes at all levels of competition, from recreational to competitive environments. No matter your level of participation, for injury prevention or treatment by a Twin Boro sports’ physical therapist, book your appointment today!

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