This month we celebrate National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM), where we celebrate how physical therapy aides in the promotion of a healthy lifestyle, and physical therapy professionals work to educate the public on the role of physical therapy in healing and healthy living.

According to the American Physical Therapy Association, the focus for 2011 is sports injury prevention across the lifespan. One of the many reasons people require physical therapy are sports related injuries, so the next month is dedicated to educating the public on how to prevent such injuries, and at IBJI we’re doing our part.

How to Prevent a Sports Injury

If you’re playing a sport, you run the risk of incurring an injury…from a pulled muscle to a torn ligament to a broken bone. No matter what sport you play, the risk is present. Here are things to make sure you implement to help reduce the need for physical therapy due to sports related injury.

  1. Make sure you’re in proper physical condition to play your sport.
  2. Set aside time for both warm up and cool down.
  3. Be sure to wear the appropriate protective gear.
  4. Know and obey the rules of the game.
  5. Watch out for others during play.
  6. Make sure to get appropriate rest.
  7. Don’t “play through” your injury.

If You Do Sustain a Sports Injury

So if you do sustain a sports related injury, how do you most effectively recover from it? Here are some tips person serious about athletic health will advise you:

Consult a physical therapist and/or sports medicine physician. Having someone knowledgeable specifically on the impacts of sports on the body as well as how to recover most effectively and efficiently is going to get you “back on the field” more quickly. Make sure you’re using Chicagoland’s best Sports Medicine team, including nearly 100 Physical Therapists located throughout the Chicagoland area. Have an after-hours immediate care need? Some of the best orthopedic specialists are available at the IBJI OrthoAccess clinics in Glenview and Libertyville.

Follow your medical team’s directions. Most of us have been injured in one way or another; we see our medical team and follow their directions just until we feel a little better, then we think those directions are no longer valid. Be sure to follow the instructions of your sports medicine team until you are fully recovered; failing to do so will prolong your recovery, or worse lead to permanent injury.

Give yourself time to heal. Most of us want to get back on the field and doing what we love as quickly as possible. To that end, we push our bodies when perhaps it would be better to rest. If you’ve been injured, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to heal, even if you’re feeling better. If your physical therapist or sports medicine physician has advised you to rest a little longer, do so. You’ll be back sooner than you think, and you’ll be stronger for taking the right time.

Here’s to the end of the summer sports season! Be sure to take care of yourself while you’re out there playing.

This information is not intended to provide advise or treatment for a specific situation. Consult your physician and medical team for information and treatment plans on your specific condition(s).

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