While sports medicine is similar to that of conventional medicine, the subtle differences involve how the body reacts during an injury and what type of exercises and therapies are best suited for getting an athlete back into the shape they need to be competitive in their chosen sport. Sports injuries can cause damage to joints and soft tissues that may need special care to ensure they don't happen again. Many athletic injuries involve the joints and can often require physical therapy during the healing process to ensure the area heals properly and is strong enough for the athlete to return to the playing field. Osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT) is particularly effective in treating sports related injuries.
Although similar in nature, sprains and strains affect different parts of the body. A sprain involves the ligaments of a joint, while a strain involves the muscles and tendons. Both types of injuries result in the tearing or stretching of the tendons, muscles, or ligaments. The most common area for this type of injury is the ankle, although it can occur in any joint of the body. A sprain normally takes a little longer to heal due to its fibrous tissue. Muscles and tendons still require lengthy healing times but will heal somewhat faster due to the fact that they often receive more oxygenated blood than other types of connective tissues. Laser therapy is particularly effective in treating this type of injury - joint injections are also a possible choice of treatment.
Physical therapy is an essential part of the recovery of any type of athletic or sport-related injury. When an injury occurs, the area normally must remain immobile until it has healed sufficiently enough for movement. Physical therapy involves the use of exercises that strengthen the injured area without putting undue strain on the actual injury. This allows the athlete to remain active while still protecting the injured area. Physical therapy allows them to maintain a certain level of strength during the first few weeks after the injury so that when it is time to start rebuilding their strength and endurance, they can move forward quickly without fear of reinjuring the area.
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