Sports medicine is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of injuries that occur while playing recreational sports. Physical therapists who specialize in sports medicine, are well versed in the movements and activities associated with each sport. As a result, physical therapy sessions are specialized to the individual’s specific activities on and off the field. For example, a football player does more than run down the field and throw a ball. They must have well defined balance and a strong body core. A golfer on the other hand, uses the hip, shoulder and back muscles while engaged in the sport. A physical therapist who specializes in sports medicine is many times an orthopedic specialist as well since orthopedic injuries are common with athletes.
Sports medicine treats the injury and strengthens the muscle systems that support the body during the activity. In addition, sports medicine is preventative as it offers therapy sessions to athletes who are not injured. These preventative therapy sessions aim to strengthen the major muscle groups that are primarily used during the activity.
It is common for professional athletes to have a regular physical therapy regimen in addition to activities such as field and weight training. This regimen can consist of aquatic therapy, massage and heat/ice therapy. These sessions are designed to increase performance on the field, while reducing the risk for injury. Sports medicine also educates athletes on their body structure. This enables them to learn how to properly use their body to achieve their goals. Physical therapists that specialize in sports therapy are many times very active in their own lives as it is their business to understand the athlete. This is of great benefit to the athlete as the therapist has personal knowledge of the tremendous strain and rigor that athletes subject their bodies to.