What is Sports Injury Rehabilitation?


People who love to play sports or engage in athletic activities derive tremendous pleasure from their body’s ability to stretch, run, lift, throw, jump, swim, and so on. When an acute or overuse injury puts an athlete out of commission and makes them unable to participate in their favorite activities, the effect can be devastating. Fortunately, sports injury rehabilitation helps injured athletes recover and get back to the activities they love.


What is sports injury rehabilitation and why is it important for older adults?

In a nutshell, sports injury rehabilitation is the restoration of optimal form and function following a sports injury. For older athletes in particular, it can be the key to living a fulfilling life. Although that may sound somewhat melodramatic, many studies have shown links between activity levels and quality of life in older adults, and sports injury rehabilitation helps injured athletes of all ages return to pre-injury fitness levels and prevent re-injury.  

One of the great benefits of youth is the ability to bounce back.  As we get older, we lose some of that automatic resilience. Our bodies change, and we lose muscle mass and become less flexible. And because we’ve been around longer, many of us develop some arthritic changes in our weight bearing joints. When the older athlete suffers a sports injury, more rest is required for recovery than with a younger athlete. And during that time, deconditioning happens quickly.

A quality rehabilitation program with a licensed physical therapist will address pain management and provide a prescription for progressive exercises to increase flexibility and range of motion, strength and endurance, and balance and coordination so that the injured athlete can recover and get back to the activities that bring the most enjoyment and satisfaction out of life.

Sports injury rehabilitation following surgery

Active older adults are at the risk of the same types of sports injuries as younger athletes. Some will heal on their own with time and home remedies such as ice and heat therapies. Others benefit greatly from anti-inflammatory medications and/or outpatient physical therapy.  But sometimes, severe sports injuries for people of all ages require surgery, and when they do, sports injury rehabilitation is an important part of recovering and regaining pre-injury fitness levels. Some common sports-related surgeries include:

  • Knee surgery

  • Knee replacement surgery

  • Meniscus tear surgery

  • Knee arthroscopy

  • ACL reconstruction

  • Rotator cuff surgery

  • Shoulder surgery

  • Shoulder arthroscopy

  • Hip replacement after surgery rehab

Physical therapy and rehabilitation for sports injuries usually begins at the hospital shortly after surgery and continues after the patient has returned home.

Physical therapy for sports injury rehabilitation

Although the specifics of each person’s rehabilitation program is different depending on their injury, their physical condition, and the extent of their surgery, most physical therapy programs will include some combination of the following:

  • Pain management

  • Swelling reduction

  • Joint mobilization

  • Soft tissue mobilization

  • Stretching

  • Active resistance exercises

  • Proper body mechanics

  • Biofeedback

  • Muscle tension feedback

  • Therapeutic ultrasound

  • Electrical stimulation

  • Fall prevention and balance retraining

The goal of post-surgical rehabilitation for sports injuries is to support the body’s natural healing process and to strengthen and condition the muscles and joints so the patient can continue their favorite activities without pain or limitation.

Short-term rehab for sports injuries at Bella Vista Health Center

People who suffer a sports injury requiring surgery are often released from the hospital before they’re fully recovered. Short term rehab facilities bridge the gap between hospital and home, providing rehabilitation services in a safe, nurturing environment. At Bella Vista Health Center, we offer premium skilled nursing care and a range of rehabilitative therapies including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and more.  Our Lemon Grove rehab center can help you recover, get back on your feet, and continue to live a life you love. If you or someone you love needs sports injury rehab or any of our other services, give us a call at (619) 644-1000 or drop by and visit our facility today.