return to sport program at Atlas Physical Therapy

Return to Sport

Sport participation has tremendously increased over the past few decades especially in the adolescent years. This trend has greatly increased the frequency at which participants are getting injured. Young athletes are also more prone to becoming injured due to changes related to growth and development. Typical sports injuries include catastrophic trauma, for example, a torn ACL during a soccer game or an overuse injury such as repetitive throwing by a pitcher who subsequently develops shoulder pain.

Typical sport-related injuries that are treated by PT include but not limited to:

  •     Patella and knee pain
  •     Shoulder and elbow pain
  •     Stress fractures
  •     Concussions
  •     Bursitis
  •     Tendonitis
  •     Osgood-Schlatter disease
  •     Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints)
  •     Throwers Elbow
  •     Injured ligament or tendon
  •     Post-surgical repair of tendon or ligament (rotator cuff repair, ACL repair)

The cause of a catastrophic injury is typically obvious as noted by the trauma, but an overuse injury will require an in-depth assessment by your Physical Therapist to find the contributing factors of the injury. Whether the injury is sudden or gradual the damaged tissue needs to go through the proper 5 phases of healing and recovery of function before returning to sport. Your Physical Therapist will be highly knowledgeable of what specific phase you are currently in and what needs to be done before returning to sport.

Phase 1 is typically short-lived post-injury, goals in this phase include reducing swelling and pain as well as maintaining good motion of injured area. Phase 2 starts when swelling and pain have reduced, this phase consists of gentle motion and strengthening to prevent long-term muscle weakness or stiffness. Phase 3 is the start of when tissue starts to rebuild, in this phase, your physical therapist will begin flexibility training as well as more intense strengthening to prevent reinjury. Phase 4 consists of functional activities to improve sport specific tasks that are specifically progressed by your physical therapist based on the most up to date research to properly stress the injured tissue without damaging it. Finally, phase 5 consists of gradual return to sport while being monitored by your physical therapist to assure reinjury will not occur.

Without the proper care and progression through all of the 5 phases, reinjury to the damaged tissue is much more likely. A typical physical therapy plan will include:

  •     Movement assessment
  •     Progressive range of motion and stretching exercises
  •     Home exercises to accelerate therapy process
  •     Loading exercises to stress damaged tissue
  •     Sport specific training to improve balance and control
  •     Gradual return to sport

Your physical therapist will custom create a plan that is specific for your needs and your sport. Contact us today to set up an appointment with one of our physical therapists to get you back to your specific sport safely! We offer services in the locations of Glen Burnie, MD.