Sports can be a great way to achieve mental and physical health benefits. However, they also come with a risk of injury. Sports and injuries can go hand in hand, from the top-tier pro athletes all the way to your average pickup game athlete. Injuries are a risk when physical activities are involved. Sports injuries can vary from minor sprains and strains to more extensive severity like fractures and tears. Minor or severe injuries can affect an athlete’s performance and their daily life. Physical therapy can play a crucial role in helping to rehabilitate sports injuries. It can help athletes regain their strength and mobility and get back to the sport or sports they enjoy.
Common sports and their associated injuries
On average, over 8 million people suffer injuries from sports and recreation accidents. Adult sports-related accidents account for an estimated one-third of emergency room visits a year, according to CDC studies. While accidents and injuries can happen during sports and recreation activities, they can often be prevented. Using the proper protective equipment, warming up adequately and executing movement with correct techniques can all help aid the prevention of sports injuries.
Sports that cause athletes the most injuries include:
- Football — Football causes an estimated 1.2 million injuries a year. Injuries happen more frequently in older athletes. The most common injuries seen in football are seen in the lower extremities, with knee injuries making up the majority of those. Upper extremity injuries account for approximately 30% of injuries. Sprains and strains make up the majority of injuries suffered by football athletes.
- Soccer — Soccer involves a lot of quick start-and-stop and physical contact, which can lead to injuries. In Major League Soccer (MLS) from the 2014-2019 seasons, almost 10,000 injuries were recorded. The most common of these injuries in the MLS were hamstring strains (12.3%). Overall in soccer, the most common injuries are those that involve the knee.
- Basketball — When compared to other team sports, basketball causes the most injuries. The majority of injuries in basketball involve the lower extremities (58.7% in men and 63.1% in women). The most common lower extremity injury suffered in basketball is ankle sprains.
- Running (Including track and field, marathon) — Over 40 million Americans participate in running on a regular basis for exercise. Up to 60% of runners will experience injuries; most common injuries from running include plantar fasciitis, runner’s knee, iliotibial (IT) band syndrome, Achilles tendinitis, shin splints and stress fractures.
- Tennis — Tennis is a popular sport in the U.S., with an estimated 18 million players. Tennis has a high demand on endurance and can cause a variety of injuries. The most common injuries are overuse injuries in the shoulder and elbow.
- Golf — Golf gives the appearance of a low-key and safe sport. However, golf is not as low risk as it appears. It is not as dangerous as football, but it is more dangerous than the contact sport of rugby. Up to 90% of professional and over 40% of amateur golfers experience injuries annually.
- CrossFit — CrossFit has taken the exercise world by storm. However, caution should be taken in this training. Injuries can be incredibly common if precautions are not taken. Injuries to the shoulders, back, knees, elbows and wrists can be common in both men and women who participate in CrossFit.
How can physical therapy help with sports-related injuries?
Sports injuries can be a common concern across different disciplines, affecting an athlete’s performance and their daily life. The good news is physical therapy can help an athlete recover from injuries sustained from sports-related incidents. Physical therapy can be beneficial in helping to rehabilitate sports injuries. This help can include:
- Pain management — Physical therapy uses a variety of techniques including manual therapy, modalities (heat and ice), and therapeutic exercises that are intended to help manage pain and inflammation. This can help reduce the need for pain medication.
- Restoring range of motion (ROM) — Injuries can affect the movement of joints and other areas. Physical therapy can use manual therapies such as joint mobilization to help restore range of motion. Physical therapy can also help prevent stiffness experienced and improve your flexibility.
- Strength improvement — Downtime can affect your muscle strength. Physical therapy can help improve weakness developing in your muscles from your injury. Physical therapists can design exercise programs around your specific sport needs to strengthen specific muscle groups. This can support injured areas and potentially help prevent future injuries.
- Balance training — Sports require a lot of balance and stability. Physical therapy can help with balance exercises to improve your balance and stability. This can help reduce the likelihood of future injuries.
- Sports-specific training — Sports rehabilitation physical therapy can customize treatments around specific sports demands. This can help you transition back into your sports-specific movements more safely. Sports physical therapy can gradually return you to play, which can help minimize re-injury or future injuries.
REPAIR SI can help you with your athletic well-being and performance
Sports-related injuries can have a significant impact on your well-being and athletic performance. REPAIR SI can help you restore your strength, flexibility and function during your sports injury recovery with physical therapy. Our expert physical therapy team can help you with the mental and emotional challenges a sports injury can bring. Our treatment plans provide science- and evidence-based techniques that are customized to your individual needs. We strive to provide you with the best care to help you on your healing journey.