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Sport Injury Rehabilitation: Phases and Treatments

31st August 2022
sport injury rehabilitation

Musculoskeletal injuries can have immediate and serious consequences for function. A set of interventions is required when an individual experiences or is likely to experience limitations in daily functioning due to aging or a health condition, such as chronic diseases or disorders, injuries, or traumas.

“Sport injury rehabilitation enables individuals of all ages to keep or return to their everyday living activities, fulfill meaningful life roles and optimize their well-being”.

A considerable proportion of injuries are caused by recreational physical activity and competitive athletics. Musculoskeletal injuries are thus an unavoidable consequence of sports activity. Football has the highest rate of catastrophic injuries, followed by gymnastics and ice hockey. Sports-related tissue injury is defined as either macro-traumatic or micro-traumatic.

What is sport injury rehabilitation?

Any sport has the danger of harm. Sports injuries occur on a daily basis and can range from minor to severe, preventing you from participating in sports. If you have an injury, it is critical to get sport injury rehabilitation as soon as possible to avoid further harm.

This is where sport injury rehabilitation can assist. Sport injury rehabilitation is a type of physical therapy that treats people of all ages who have pain, injury, or illness in their musculoskeletal system.

Sport injury rehabilitation, via the use of exercise, movement, and therapeutic interventions, helps you maintain your health and fitness while also recovering from injury and reducing pain.

What are the 5 phases of rehabilitation?

sport injury rehabilitation

Rest and Protect the Injured Area

The first step toward sport injury rehabilitation is to ensure that no further harm is done. This will allow healing to begin and aid in the earliest physical responses to injury. The normal first responses are inflammation and discomfort.

Inflammation is the body’s defense response to anything harmful, and it aids in the clearance of damaged or dead tissue, which is replaced by the creation of new normal tissue. You’ll want to keep the pain to a minimum and protect the injured area so that no further damage or pain occurs.

Actions such as bandaging or installing a cast on the damaged area is a smart approach to hide the injury and avoid infection or other harm. These activities can also aid to immobilize the body portion, encouraging rest, and starting the recuperation process.

Applying an ice pack can also help to reduce inflammation and swelling. Analgesic or anti-inflammatory drugs may also be used to relieve pain. At this point, a physiotherapist or doctor can assist you in determining the extent of the injury, how to best protect it while you rest, and prescribing any medication that is required.

Joint Mobility and Range of Motion Recovery

After resting, protecting, and allowing swelling and pain to subside, the next step is to strive to regain a complete range of motion in the injured joint. This recovery to flexibility should be accomplished without generating undue pain. Some level of discomfort may be expected, making it tougher to move as you did before the accident.

To facilitate this mobility, this stage includes joint mobilization, muscle stretching, and therapeutic exercise. Whatever interventions are used, they should be done gently to minimize further harm. Your physiotherapist will be able to advise you on flexibility exercises that will help you regain range of motion and function.

Muscle Strength Recuperation

At this stage, emphasis is placed on regaining muscle strength and endurance. Damaged or dead tissue will have been replaced with new, less resilient tissue. As a result, you will most likely experience muscle tiredness and a lack of stamina when healing from a sports injury.

The more time spent without training, the longer recovery will take. A conditioning phase must be initiated in order to reconstruct and strengthen the new tissue, allowing the individual to return to top condition.

To assist sustain endurance, your physiotherapist will most likely recommend cardiovascular or aerobic training. This is frequently preceded with mild workouts such as swimming or riding a stationary bike.

Your muscle groups will reach excellent form with correct form and low impact, promoting better recovery. Load progression can be utilized to gradually strengthen this muscle and endurance while avoiding overtraining, which can result in setbacks.

Regaining Coordination

Sporting activities typically involve a variety of complex actions that necessitate spatial awareness and limb posture at all times. Lesions to the musculoskeletal frame can arise as a result of sports injuries, causing modifications in these proprioceptive processes.

They can impair a person’s ability to effectively regulate muscle motions and maintain balance. This capacity is impaired during rehabilitation, but it can be restored through particular workouts that address issues ranging from balance to hand-eye coordination.

Restoring neuromuscular control and spatial awareness lowers the danger of re-injury and increases the individual’s chances of returning to competitiveness. The exercises that a physiotherapist will use here will be determined by how the person performs during a movement evaluation.

Sport-Specific Technical Movement Recovery

Every sport has its own set of moves. A footballer’s movement is markedly different from that of a basketball player. The final step of recovery involves assisting the individual in regaining their ability to do intricate motions particular to whatever sport they participate in.

The emphasis here is on various qualities of movement such as speed, agility, coordination, and balance. They can perform simple to complex skills such as kicking a football into a net or juggling it.

At this point, the individual should resume full training and intensity, with increasing amounts of game time as their function and form improve. The choice to return to full play may be influenced by the doctor’s, physiotherapist’s, trainer’s, and coach’s evaluation and advice.

The player’s perspective must also be considered, since their physical and mental health will influence their ability to confidently return to full play.

What are the steps of sports rehabilitation?

  • Early-Stage

  • Early-stage sport injury rehabilitation consists of modest exercise that allows the injured tissue to recover. This stage is frequently rushed, resulting in poor quality healing and an increased risk of re-injury.

  • Mid-Stage

  • Mid-stage sport injury rehabilitation entails gradually loading the muscles/tendons/bones/ligaments to generate tensile strength, resulting in healed tissue that can tolerate the stresses and strains of daily living and exercise.

  • Late

  • Late – the final stage (late) of sport injury rehabilitation is where the tissue adjusts and is stressed utilizing functional workouts and drills to ensure the body is ready to play again.

What is the best treatment for sports injury?

Because they minimize pain and swelling, ice or cold packs are usually most helpful on fresh injuries (within the first two to three days following a traumatic accident). Flare-ups of chronic illnesses may also necessitate the use of ice.

Cold or ice packs should be applied up to 15 minutes at a time numerous times per day. Ice should never be applied straight to the skin. Before using ice packs, wrap them with a towel or cloth.

Heat therapy, on the other hand, is typically suggested for chronic, long-term problems such as muscle tightness and stress. One form of problem that commonly improves with heat therapy is muscle pains. Heat therapy, like cold packs, should be applied for no more than 15 minutes at a time and may be used several times each day.

After four or five days following a traumatic injury, heat therapy may help the healing process. Moist warm towels, microwaveable heating packs or bean bags, or electric heating pads can all be used to deliver heat therapy. If you use an electric heating pad, be very careful not to fall asleep on it, as this can result in serious harm.


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