It might be normal to feel sore or stiff after participating in sports. However if the pain doesn’t fade and you find the affected area to be very swollen, or the skin is discolored, you might be seriously injured. It’s important to see a healthcare professional to diagnose and rehabilitate serious sports injuries. When you go to the doctor you might receive diagnostic imaging—like an x-ray to detect broken bones. He or she might refer you to an orthopedic specialist or surgeon depending on the severity of the injury. Or, he or she might refer you to a physical therapist. If you have to undergo surgery, you will receive physical therapy as part of the rehabilitation process.
Physical therapists (PTs) are musculoskeletal specialists and can help an athlete get back in the game. When you go to therapy for sports injury rehabilitation, he or she will perform an in-depth examination of your current functional levels and will assess your goals. Depending on your injury, your PT will prescribe specific exercises at the appropriate difficulty level to rehabilitate the injury. He or she will work on increasing your balance, strength, coordination, and flexibility. Stretching and exercising as prescribed by your PT at home is equally as important as what you do in the clinic. Before long you will be back to playing your favorite sports and will have more strength, balance, and flexibility to avoid injury in the future.