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Athletes and Their Injuries

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With Fall sports in full swing and Winter sports tryouts beginning, it’s time to talk about preventing injuries this season. Often, after an injury, athletes try to get back on the field as quickly as possible or, they attempt to re-condition their bodies too quickly, after being relatively inactive in the off-season. However, despite proper conditioning, no matter how well-conditioned your athlete is, injuries can still occur.

Whatever the scenario, physical therapy is a very effective method to both prevent and rehabilitate a sports related injury. It addresses the issue before it becomes a much more serious problem, that could sideline your athlete for a prolonged period of time.

Knee Injuries

Knee pain is a very common problem we treat in athletes, and can create major problems both on and off the field. The number one complaint is pain under or around the knee cap. This pain, can greatly limit your athlete’s functional mobility. Even minor knee pain can cause difficulty walking, running, or sprinting, and can cause pain when squatting and kneeling. Your athlete will likely have trouble lifting, pushing, and pulling objects as well.

Think about a football player for example. How many times do they perform these types of motions in either practice or a game? You can see how knee pain will affect them.

The most common cause of knee pain is weakness in the muscles surrounding your hip and knee. This weakness and instability causes unnecessary rubbing and pressure in the joint, causing pain and inflammation. Which will result in even more muscle weakness and tightness, and will result in further stress on the knee joint. The longer an athlete experiences symptoms, the weaker and stiffer their knees will become. Ultimately, limiting your athletes ability to perform on and off the field.

Low Back Injuries

Injuries of the lower back and hips can also sideline your athlete. Lower back and lower body injuries, can be prevented by maintaining good strength in key muscle groups. Once of the most important groups of muscles to focus on is the gluteal muscles.

These muscles help provide a stable base for the legs and trunk. They are also responsible for allowing the body to walk, run, and jump. Without strength here, there is abnormal stress on the lower back and knees. This can quickly cause overuse injuries like tendonitis or a lower back strain. Gluteal strengthening exercises, not only consist of squats and sit-ups, but also involve isolating muscles against gravity without compensation from the lower spine.

Shoulder Injuries

Shoulders can also be prone to overuse injuries, depending on the sport. Think about what baseball, softball, or volleyball players have to do. Shoulder pain can start in and around the joint, and can even radiate up to the neck or down the arm. This pain will likely limit your athlete’s ability to lift or carry a weighted object, even something as light as a water bottle! Forget throwing a pitch, serving a ball, or swimming!

Shoulder pain can also affect your athlete’s ability to sleep and get adequate rest, impacting their ability to perform. Needless to say, shoulder pain, even if it’s relatively minor, will limit an athlete’s normal routine and become a serious problem if it’s not addressed early on.

How to Solve and Prevent These Injuries

The good news with all of these injuries is that they can often be resolved relatively quickly or avoided altogether with an individualized treatment plan. Physical therapy will help decrease the athlete’s pain and improve their mobility regardless of whether they’ve been experiencing that pain since last night’s game or last season’s tryouts. Through specific strengthening and stretching exercises, physical therapy will help restore normal muscle balance in your athlete’s upper and lower extremities, and improve body mechanics.

Loudoun Sports Therapy Center’s Clinicians Will:

  • Evaluate an athlete’s pain or injury and determine the root cause without a physician’s referral.
  • Come up with a plan of care specific to their sport and activities.
  • Treat the athlete for full recovery in the safest and most effective manner possible.
  • Take them through a series of tests to determine their risk for future injuries.
  • Take them through sports-specific drills so they are safely cleared to return to play.
  • Teach them effective exercises to continue doing once they are discharged so they prevent future problems.

Don’t wait for an injury to sideline you or your athlete. Call LSTC today at, 703-450-4300 to schedule an evaluation and learn how to avoid injuries!

For more information on our Sports Performance Program click HERE!

 

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