Young athletes can derive enormous benefit from physical therapy. Despite overwhelming research that therapy has a number of important benefits, not all athletes seek the help they need when recovering from injuries. Here are four ways injured young athletes can benefit from physical therapy.
#1. Therapy Strengthens Muscles
One of the most common form of physical therapy is aquatic therapy. This involves the patient immersing themselves in water and performing various exercises. As water reduces pressure on bones and joints that would otherwise be present if they were to stand, movement is freer and less painful. One of the key benefits of this type of physical therapy is that the patient can strengthen their muscles even in limbs that they cannot put any weight on.
#2. Therapy Improves Blood Flow
Some young athletes use physical therapy to improve blood flow to affected areas of their bodies. Overuse injuries are increasingly common amongst young athletes who are doing repetitive actions whilst training for a particular sport. The first red flag that this type of injury is occurring is pain and inflammation. Athletes may visit their doctor and get an x-ray or have further diagnostic tests. On a cellular level, when you are overusing certain muscles and ligaments, they get stressed and becoming strained. Over a longer period, a lack of blood flow affects the area and creates conditions such as tendentious. Orthopedic physical therapy benefits young athletes by helping to increase blood flow to the injured area.
#3. Therapy Increase Endurance
Structurally, women are shaped differently to boys with wider hips, more ‘knotted’ positioning of the knees and more internal rotation of the hips. The current epidemic of girls suffering from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries is primarily due to the way that their bodies are shaped. There are over 200,000 cases of ACL injuries in the U.S. per year and girls are five to eight times more likely to suffer from ACL injuries than boys are. This can take six months to recover from and physical therapy helps increase endurance. Most patients will exercise for three days with a therapy and follow home-based exercises as well. Physical therapy helps athletes recover by increasing their endurance levels.
#4. Therapy Addresses Both Psychological And Physiological Issues
To recover from a an injury, athletes need to work hard physically and engage psychologically too. This is one area where therapy is crucial as it forces athletes to focus and work as hard as possible every single second they are in therapy. They can really push through and know they can get back to where they were before the accident.
Sadly, while physical therapy has a great number of benefits, most athletes only use it retrospectively, that is to say after they have been injured. It is a great shame that more young athletes and their parents don’t use therapy preventatively. Physical therapists in CT can help identify athletes at risk by doing a simple postural assessment and evaluation. Athletes who go through assessments and biomechanics such as how they jump, move and run will come out stronger are be far less likely to suffer from injuries in the future.