What is sports injury rehabilitation?

Sports rehabilitation (or sport injury rehabilitation) is the process of managed recovery from injuries obtained within a sporting context. A person-centred approach ensures that the rehabilitation program is suitable for the individual, and will support them with their long-term recovery from injury.

🔺 A person-centred approach will help to achieve maximum success during the rehabilitation and recovery process.

What are the 5 stages of rehabilitation in sport?

Physical sports rehabilitation is based upon five key stages (or phases). These are:

  1. Reduction of immediate pain and swelling
  2. Improved range of motion (ROM)
  3. Recovery or improvement of strength
  4. Improved co-ordination and balance
  5. Gradual return to sport / full fitness

If you are suffering mentally as a result of sporting activity, a sports psychologist may be able to advise further on the best course of action. In the first instance, we would recommend consulting your GP or a mental health specialist.

🔺 The 5 stages of sports rehabilitation end with a gradual and controlled return to sporting activity. Rushing this process could result in further or sustained injury.

What is a sports rehabilitation therapist?

A sport rehabilitation therapist will support an amateur or professional athlete on the road to recovery. Through a dedicated program of exercise and rehabilitation, a sports rehabilitation therapist can accelerate or improve the recovery process for their client. In some instances, athletes can complete their rehabilitation program and achieve a level of physical fitness greater than when they first sustained injury.

🔺 With a careful and controlled exercise plan, the individual can achieve a greater level of fitness than before they sustained injury.

In any case, the outcome of the rehabilitation program would be based upon:

  • The nature of the injury sustained
  • The effective creation of realistic and attainable goals
  • The quality of the rehabilitation program
  • The ability of the sports therapist to support their client for the duration of the program
  • The commitment from the individual to follow the program and see it through from beginning to end

Sports rehabilitation and injury prevention

In the first instance, preventative measures are the most effective way to achieve peak physical performance. There is a strong relationship between injury rehabilitation and injury prevention, and a good sports therapist will be able to advise on the most effective ways to prevent injury and avoid the need for rehabilitation.

Sports rehabilitation after surgery

Whilst preventative measures can be a highly effective way to avoid the need for injury recovery, there are a number of factors outside of an individual’s control which may lead to the athlete / sports person developing a severe or chronic injury.

🔺 Preventetive measures are not always possible, and breaks, tears and ruptures can meen that an individual requires surgery prior to beginning their rehabilitation program.

If this were to happen, surgical intervention may be needed, and the individual can embark on a post-surgery rehabilitation program.

Examples of common sports injuries which may require surgery include:

  • ACL tears
  • Meniscal tears
  • Broken bones
  • Dislocated joints (shoulder, knee etc)
  • Ligament ruptures

Complex sports rehabilitation

As with any form of rehabilitation, sport rehabilitation will have varying degrees of complexity based on a number of factors. These include:

  • The individual’s history
  • The injury itself
  • The nature of the individual’s current personal and professional situation
  • The goals set for recovery i.e. level of ability / timescale
  • Other external factors outside of the individual’s control
🔺 There are varying degrees of complexity based upon the nature of the injury sustained and the individual’s history.

When the rehabilitation program is complex, a multi-disciplinary approach can be one of the most effective ways of achieving success. There are a number of treatment and exercise types which can then feed into the over-arching sport rehabilitation program, and as such greater levels of success can be achieved.

Physiotherapy and sports rehabilitation

Physiotherapy can have an important role as part of the sport rehabilitation program. Both physiotherapists and sports therapists have the qualifications and ability to support with injury diagnosis, rehabilitation program creation and sports rehabilitation treatments. Prescribed exercises can have a positive impact, especially when executed alongside treatments such as sports massage or remedial massage therapy.

🔺 Sports massage can be key in supporting the over-arching recovery process.

Sports rehabilitation massage

Sport rehabilitation or remedial massage can play a pivotal role in the recovery process. With a number of physical, mental and holistic benefits, sports massage is now widely utilised by amateur and professional athletes in order to support peak physical performance.

Sports rehabilitation therapist

Rhiannon Jenkins is a qualified Sports Therapist practicing with full membership of the SMA and the Society of Sports Therapists For further information or to find out how Jenkins Soft Tissue Therapy can help you with your sport rehabilitation, contact us today.

Categories: InjuriesSports