Nowadays, more people than ever before are exercising and playing sports, but many still lack the knowledge and understanding of protecting themselves against injury. However, when injuries do occur, physical therapy is an excellent route in helping patients recover.
Causes of Sports Injuries
Whether playing sports for health benefits or competitively, sports injuries are generally caused by muscles not being able to handle the intensity of the sport or exercise. There are many risk factors for sports injuries, such as:
- Body structure abnormalities
- Lacking skill, such as the movement skills specific to the sport
- Not being well-prepared, whether it be:
- Not training properly, long enough, or lacking continuity
- Not stretching the muscles correctly, or enough – before and after
- Not receiving continuous or correct treatment after injury
- Using equipment that is unsuitable for the type of sport, such as inappropriate shoes, attire, or equipment
- Training that is not specific to the sport, or a training coach lacking knowledge in the specific sport
The Importance of Physical Therapy in Sports
Physical therapy plays an important role in the treatment and rehabilitation of patients after an injury, not only by restoring health, but also by helping to increase effectiveness.
As seen from various sports clubs in Thailand, nowadays, greater importance is being shown to the role of physical therapy, with physical therapists being permanently assigned to many teams. These experienced PTs, aside from treating injuries, are able to prepare athletes for training, assess an athlete’s readiness to compete, and help them prepare for the next competition. Often, many high profile athletes have their own personal physical therapist to care for them closely and offer advice specific to their unique needs.
If athletes follow the physical therapist’s advice properly, they may also lower their risk of injury.
Physical Therapy Treatment Goals
1. Pain Relief Treatment for Muscles and Tendons
- Reduce inflammation of the muscles and tendons with the assistance of specialized PT equipment
- Restricting movement or immobilizing the affected joints with the help of support equipment
- Advice on how to prevent further injury to inflamed muscles
- Advice on how to avoid injury in everyday life
2. Rehabilitation Treatment
- Improving muscle function
- Muscle stimulation exercises
- Educate patients on the different functions of each muscle
3. Preventing Recurrence
- Educate patients on the structure of the body and how bones and muscles work together
- Develop an exercise plan, after a physical performance test, specific to each individual, including, for example, intensity, frequency, and duration of exercise
- Instruct patients how to care for themselves before, after, and during exercise, when playing sports, or simply through daily routines
- Advise patients on how to properly use support equipment
- Advise patients on how to monitor for warning signs of potential injury when exercising or carrying out other various activities
4. Promoting Good Health
- Educate patients on the general exercises, as well as exercises specific to each individual, for example, exercises for weight loss, muscle building, or strength training; or exercises specifically for patients with heart disease, high blood pressure, or joint conditions
- Advise patients on the exercises suitable for each individual based on their specific body type, ability, and conditions – as well as what actions to take if an injury occurs.