Three Sports-Related Injuries That May Be Helped By Physical Therapy

Whether you are a professional athlete or someone who enjoys participating in sports as a pastime, you may experience an injury to a muscle, tendon or joint at some time. Other than strains and sprains, pulled ligaments and inflamed tendons are fairly common injuries or those who engage in sports activities. Some of the more common locations for injuries occur to the shoulder, knee and back. Here are three sports-related injuries that may require treatment and a regimen of physical therapy through a place like Advanced Physical Therapy:


This condition affects the tendons which attach the bone to a muscle. It most commonly occurs from over-usage or overhead activities. Tendonitis most commonly occurs in the wrist, elbow, knee, ankle, or shoulder. Individuals who play tennis or pitch a ball routinely are often prone to tendonitis of the elbow, wrist or shoulder. Runners may experience tendonitis in their ankle or foot. Swimmers may develop this condition in the shoulders.

Doctors generally diagnose tendonitis by evaluating the symptoms, such as swelling, tenderness, pain and immobility of a joint. A magnetic resonance imaging test (MRI) may provide a closer look at the tissues and tendons. This helps doctors make a conclusive diagnosis. To treat acute tendonitis, medications may be prescribed. Also, as part of an effective treatment program, the doctor may recommend physical therapy (PT).

Physical therapy to treat tendonitis may include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), which uses a low voltage electrical current delivered directly to the injured area. This therapy is intended to improve blood circulation and relieve pain.

Other forms of PT may be used as well. The physical therapist may also recommend gentle stretching or resistance exercises. These exercises are intended to strengthen the muscles and joints, as well as improve the range of mobility of the affected area. Sometimes massage therapy is incorporated into the program. Applications of ice may help relieve inflammation and reduce swelling at the onset of tendonitis.

2. Ankle Sprain

A sprained ankle is one of the most common injuries directly related to sports activities. While running or moving, if the ankle twists or turns in an awkward position or manner, an injury may occur. This occurs from tendons and muscles being pulled or stretched. Runners and basketball players are most prone to this type of sports injury.

Symptoms of an ankle sprain include swelling to the ankle, which sometimes extends to the calf or foot. Tenderness and pain are also commonly experienced. Sometimes the skin may become discolored or the area may look bruised. The individual may also find it difficult to put pressure on the foot or ankle.

The doctor may recommend an x-ray to rule out a possible fracture. In more severe cases of ankle sprains, physical therapy may be prescribed. This is often performed after the initial swelling subsides and the patient has rested the injured ankle.

Physical therapy for a sprained ankle is intended to restore range of motion. By doing so, the individual may find it easier to return to their normal activities and heal faster. Physical therapy may include the use of ice packs intermittently. Rehabilitation range-of-motion exercises and balance activities may be recommended as well. The patient may continue the exercises and activities at home until the ankle has healed.

3. Shin Splints

Shin splints are a common type of sports-related injury seen in runners. The most prevalent symptom is pain in the affected shin or lower leg area. Many describe the pain as dull and aching.

This condition may occur from running on hard or uneven surfaces, wearing improperly fitted shoes, or from not properly warming up before running or exercising. When the calf muscles become overstretched due to lack of a pre-sports warm-up, the condition of shin splints may occur. Application of ice is often recommend to reduce the inflammation and swelling. Anti-inflammatory medications are sometimes prescribed as well.

When physical therapy is prescribed, the therapist may first treat the injury with a modified training program. This will often include educating the patient on how to avoid re-injuring the area. Calf stretching exercises may also be taught.