Injuries can sideline anyone who plays sports, from professionals to weekend warriors. It is vital to ensure that athletes return to their peak performance quickly, safely, and with minimal risk of re-injury. To achieve that, these patients must undergo a recovery process with several stages.
Sports injury rehabilitation is a multi-step process. The goal is to restore the body to full strength, range of motion, and flexibility after an injury. Working with a sports medicine physician and other healthcare providers can ensure you get the best program for your recovery. That way, you can return to the sport you love.
Let’s talk about the different stages of sports injury rehabilitation and where you can go for the treatment of sports injuries in O’Fallon, MO.
1. Rest and Injury Protection
The first stage of sports injury rehabilitation involves rest and protection from further injury. This may include using crutches, splints, immobilization devices, or undergoing surgery.
During this time, it is important to keep the affected area still to promote healing.
If you are suffering from a sports injury, especially if your condition is mild or moderate, take this step seriously.
However, forcing yourself to keep going can lead to further damage and longer recovery times. This additional strain can also lead to more serious complications and may even prevent you from returning to your sport.
2. Pain Management and Reduction of Swelling
The next stage of rehabilitation focuses on pain management and reducing swelling in and around the injured area. This can be done through:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Cold compress
- Electrical stimulation
During this time, you should be working closely with your doctor and physical therapist to get the best possible results.
3. Range of Motion and Strengthening Exercises
Once the pain and swelling have subsided, you can begin working on restoring your range of motion and strength.
Your healthcare provider will design a specific exercise program based on your individual needs. This may include the following:
- Strengthening exercises
- Specialized techniques (proprioceptive training and neuromuscular re-education)
Sports injuries can make your body feel weak and out of shape. Stick with a regular exercise program to ensure you return to your sport at the same level of performance pre-injury.
Note that as you recover, you will start from light resistance and then gradually increase the intensity of your program. This is important to prevent further injury or strain.
4. Return to Sport
The last step in injury rehabilitation is returning to sports. At this stage, you should have a full range of motion, strength, and flexibility before the injury.
You should also be able to perform the same movements and techniques you were doing before.
This final step is essential so you can return to your sport at your optimal performance level. As such, working with a healthcare provider who understands sports injuries is important. That way, they can properly assess when you are ready for this stage.
Also, remember that returning to sport doesn’t necessarily mean your injury is completely healed. Depending on your condition’s severity, you may need to modify your technique or take extra precautions when participating in activities.
Prevention of Future Re-Injury
A significant part of rehabilitation is learning how to prevent future injuries. This includes the following:
- Proper warm-ups
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
- Modifications in technique
- Proper use of equipment
- Wearing supportive footgear and clothing
Your physical therapist or sports medicine physician should be able to advise you on how to prevent future injuries.
They will consider your current level of strength and flexibility, as well as your sport-specific movements.
Who Can Help You During the Rehabilitation Process
Full recovery requires a team of dedicated healthcare providers. That includes doctors, physical therapists, and athletic trainers. In addition to medical care and rehabilitation services, these professionals can provide emotional support during the recovery process.
A sports medicine physician is one specific provider who can help you with sports injury rehabilitation.
From diagnosis to treatment and prevention, they have the experience and knowledge to provide you with personalized care.
Sports injury rehabilitation is a long process that requires patience, dedication, and commitment. Working with the right team of healthcare providers can ensure you are on the fast track to recovery.
Top Sports Medicine Physician in O’Fallon, MO
If you are looking for relief from sports injuries, look no further. At Advanced Bone & Joint, our board-certified, fellowship-trained physicians frequently help patients deal with chronic pain stemming from musculoskeletal and nervous system disorders. We offer many advanced treatments to avoid dependence on strong pain medications and unnecessary surgeries.
We look forward to helping you return to the sport you love!