Rehabilitation of Sports Injury

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Rehabilitation of Sports Injury

Rehabilitation of sports injury is the process of restoring the injured athlete’s strength, flexibility, range of motion, endurance, proprioception, agility and skills after and injury. It should proceed in an orderly fashion through a number of planned stages with modifications depending on the athlete’s progress.

Process can be divided into different stages :
1. Initial stage – use substitute activity; RICE; isometric exercises; electrotherapeutic modalities
2. Intermediate stage – use isolated skills from sport; range of motion exercises; strength training; proprioception exercises
3. Advanced stage – use game drills and skill; strength and proprioception training.
4. Return to sport – use full sports activity and continue with strength and flexibility exercises

Principles of rehabilitation of sports injury
1) The difference between the rehabilitation of the athlete and the non-athlete lies in the level to which the rehabilitation process must take the injured tissue and the athletes body, in order to cope with the imposed demands of the athletes sport.
2) Use a multidisciplinary approach to determine the mechanics of injury in relation to intrinsic and extrinsic forces and correct these factors during the rehabilitation process
3) An accurate diagnosis is essential to:
• determine the suitability of the patient for rehabilitation
• determine the specific site of tissue damage
• determine the function of the damaged tissue in relation to the sporting activity
• determine subjective and objective measures to evaluate the effectiveness of the rehabilitation program
4) Establish short and long term goals for the rehabilitation process, which are measurable in terms of subjective and objective clinical and functional tests
5) The rehabilitation process can be divided into those measures that specifically treat the primary site of tissue damage, and those that affect the secondary consequences of the injury.
6) Treatment consists of PRICE; no motion for 24-48 hours; electrotherapy after 24-48 hours; motion allowed after 24-48 hours, but not in a direction that tensions the damaged tissues; tape or brace to control motion
7) Treatment in the regeneration phase consists of progressively tensioning the wound to increase and orientate the collagen fibres. The tension should be applied along functional lines of stress for the particular tissue affected.
8) Treatment in the remodelling phase consists of tensioning the wound to further orientate the collagen fibres and prevent wound contracture
9) Treatment of the primary site of tissue damage relate to:
• restoring the ability of the tissues to withstand tensile stresses – tension the area
• decreasing the inflammation in tissue not normally subjected to tension
10) Rehabilitate all the secondary consequences of injury without aggravating the site of tissue damage

Return to sports participation:
Return to participation should only be allowed once the injury is fully healing and fully rehabilitated.

Criteria :
time constraints for soft tissue healing have been observed
pain free full range of motion
no persistent swelling
adequate strength and endurance
good flexibility
good proprioception
adequate cardiovascular fitness
skills regained
no persistent biomechanical abnormality
athlete psychologically ready
coach satisfied with training form

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