For many office workers, the weekend is playtime, especially in a city like Portland. When the clock hits 5:00 on a Friday, many of us head out for hiking, recreational sports leagues, and numerous other physical activities. While many individuals go months and years without an injury, so-called ‘Weekend Warriors’ are at higher risk for injuries due in part to the limited time they have to devote to their skill, sport, or activity.
Think of it this way, an elite athlete has trainers and specialists who make sure that person is strong enough to perform, plays with good technique, and has the appropriate recovery period between activity. Most of us who participate in recreational sport or activity don’t have this benefit.
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
While physical therapy excels in treating injuries resulting from recreational sports and activities it can also help prevent them. Physical therapy looks at the body holistically. This is important because of how interconnected our bodies are. An issue in one region can affect what happens in another body region. Issues like range of motion, weakness, muscle imbalance, movement patterns, and technique can all increase the likelihood of injury.
For example, think of a recreational runner who decides to train for a marathon or half marathon. Assume the runner finds a training plan online and begins to increase the distance of their long run. Everything goes well until they start to get shin pain running on hills. This limits their ability to train and they either have to stop training or push through and risk further injury. Physical therapy could have helped by identifying weakness or imbalance, observing issues with their form, and worked to prevent the injury from occurring.
Think again of someone who plays in a recreational basketball league. Imagine a scenario where that person had to turn unexpectedly and quickly sideways to avoid another player. Someone with good ankle strength and stability would be able to make that quick motion and adjust without a significant risk for injury. However, someone with ankle weakness or a history of rolling their ankle would be at increased risk of mild injury or ankle sprain with that same motion. Physical therapy could identify weakness and prescribe a program to help keep that individual strong and safe in their sport.
As healthcare evolves, prevention of injury becomes increasingly important. At Life’s Work Physical Therapy we understand the frustration of pain or injury keeping an individual from the sport they love. We are avid hikers, bikers, and generally active people. Physical therapy isn’t just for injury, it is the best tool for preventing injury and keeping you in the activities you love. Contact us today for a consultation on your movements and range of motion!