Return to Play Therapy for Sports

After an injury, many athletes want to know how soon they can return to their favorite sport. It is crucial that you “return to play” in your best condition both to avoid reinjury and to prevent new conditions. A Return-to-Play physical therapy program is the safest way to get back to enjoying your sport without putting yourself in danger.

What is a Return-to-Play Physical Therapy program?

Any injury can cause you to take a “time out” from your favorite sport. Even if the injury did not occur during play, you may not be able to participate while you heal. After you have been cleared by your doctor and often after you have completed an initial physical therapy program, you may want to enroll in a Return-to-Play program to work beyond basic healing. Return-to-Play treatment includes:

  • Specific strengthening for your sport
  • Functionality testing
  • Sport psychology
  • Injury prevention strategies
  • Mobility and flexibility testing

If your injury occurred while playing your favorite sport, your Return-to-Play sports therapy program may also focus on correcting movement or imbalances that could have contributed to a sports injury. 

What types of injury may require Return-to-Play sports therapy?

Any injury that affects your motion or flexibility can in turn affect how you play.  The type of physical therapy you will need to return to play is determined by your injury. Some of the more common injuries that benefit from a Return-to-Play program include:

  • Concussion
  • Elbow and shoulder injuries
  • Tendonitis
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries
  • Hip injuries
  • Ankle sprains
  • Damage to the Achilles tendon

If you have pain while performing an activity, a physical therapy program can help you determine the source of the pain and help you to strengthen the muscles needed to move properly. Nearly any pain that occurs as a result of movement may signify the need for Return-to-Play physical therapy.

How does Return-to-Play for sports work?

A good physical therapy program begins with a complete assessment by a physical therapist. Depending on the nature and treatment of your injury, your doctor may want to determine when you are ready for Return-to-Play therapy before you begin. You and your physical therapist will formulate a plan to gradually increase your training as you work toward better functionality and movement. When you are ready, your therapist will help you create strategies to maintain your strength, mobility, and flexibility and avoid future injuries as you return to playing your favorite sport.

The best part of Return-to-Play therapy for sports is being able to count on your physical therapist to help you recover properly and get back to play as soon as safely possible. In many cases, your physical therapist may actually be able to improve your overall quality of motion and help you unlock new potential. If you would like to know more about Return-to-Play therapy, give us a call today!