Coming back from a sports-related injury can be a difficult and complicated thing to do. While many sports injuries can heal with minimal care, most sports-lovers need their injuries to heal well enough to keep playing their sport. Having the pain go away isn’t the only objective–rather, strengthening muscles and ligaments to prevent future occurrences of the injury are a priority.
Steps to Rehabilitation
Most sports injuries fall into the class of repetitive stress injuries. These injuries are a result of the accumulation of many minor, even unnoticeable, injuries over time. Whether a stress fracture in a bone from long distance runner, or swelling of a tendon in the elbow from tennis serves, repetitive stress injuries do not happen in an instant, but slowly weaken a point of impact or tension.
Since gradual weakening is essentially the cause of the injury, most sports injury rehabilitation focuses on gradual strengthening. Usually, an athlete is advised to take some time off from his sport, so that his body can start an initial healing process. In this time (and well after), a sports trainer will recommend a regime of additional exercises to strengthen the damaged body part.
These exercises are designed specifically to approach particular tendons or problem spots. Often times, an athlete’s body mechanics can in some way be altered to prevent future injuries. Changing the motions used in the sport can be as simple as wearing a brace, or may involve re-training the body how to pitch or swim. However, these methods yield the greatest successes at returning an athlete in full health to the sport he loves–not to mention keeping him in play.