Rehabilitation After a Sports Injury: Tips From Fresno’s Top Sports Physician


Did you know that 62% of sports-related injuries occur during practices and not even during a game? Concussions are one of the leading injuries, and they’re followed by sprains and bone fractures. Any injury takes time to recover from, and you want to work with a sports doctor to prevent additional damage.

Even the best athletes suffer from injuries now and then. Warm-ups and training do as much as they can, but you can’t always stop a collision or bad fall. At any level, sports injuries are a risk, but with time and patience, you can come back stronger than before. Our top sports physician offers Fresno’s athletes some tips for rehabilitation after a sports injury.

Act Immediately and Don’t Keep Playing

Your rehabilitation plan should start with immediate action after you’re injured. RICE (rest, ice compression, elevation) is essential. Stop moving the injured area, allow medical staff to put on a neck brace if the injury is to your spine or neck, and rest. If you have a leg or ankle injury, elevate it. Get ice onto the injured area and compression from an ACE bandage will help.

As soon as you’re situated, go to a sports physician for assessment or to the ER if you passed out or had a severe blow to the head. You must be seen by a medical professional who can diagnose issues like a concussion, spinal injury, bone fracture, or muscle tear that requires surgery to heal correctly.

Once you’ve been seen by a doctor, you’ll start building a treatment and recovery plan. You need to carefully listen to the doctor’s advice. Modern medicine has far more options for rehabilitation than in the past, so there may be treatments like PRP injections to help with pain relief.

Stay Ahead of the Pain

It’s often a habit of people to take pain medications only when the pain is severe. That can make it harder to recover properly. You don’t have to rely on prescription pain medications. Altering ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help with pain management and reduce inflammation, too. 

In addition, Premium Sports & Orthopedics has options for pain management that reduce the need for pain medications.

PRP Injections: Using the platelets collected from your blood, PRP injections go straight into your healing joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons to accelerate the healing process. They’re proven to be 4x more effective than steroids.

Stem Cell Therapy: Stem cell therapy is similar, only it uses the stem cells from your body to help heal the damaged cells and tissue in damaged joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons.

Get Enough Rest

Sleep is a time when the body is able to relax and help repair damage. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Ideally, an adult needs seven to eight hours each night. Children need even more than that.

You might be used to functioning on less than that, but it’s a good time to slow down and make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Go to bed an hour earlier and read a book. Reading is far more effective at helping people drift off and enter a deep sleep cycle. Studies find that time spent with the blue light from a phone, tablet, or TV before bed is detrimental to healthy sleep patterns.

Eat the Right Foods

As your body recovers, make sure you’re eating the right foods. Skip the junk food and aim for whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and calcium-rich dairy like yogurt or milk. Ask your doctor if it’s possible to see a dietitian or specialist in fitness to create a customized fitness program that heals your body from the inside out.

Sometimes, you might need a boost of nutrients to aid the healing process. Magnesium IV drips support muscle health. It’s worth asking about this option in addition to a healthy diet. When you’re back on the field, an IV drip can help provide your body with amino acids, minerals, and vitamins before or after a gain, which supports cell health. You could also consider an IV before a game to boost B vitamins, which are essential for energy levels and mood.

Attend All Physical Therapy Sessions

As your body begins to heal, physical therapy is important. You’ll work with professionals who have a deep understanding of how to move your body in ways that will help build muscle and joint strength, while also managing pain through techniques like massage, ice compresses, heat therapy, or electrical charges that enhance muscle-building and toning in a safe, effective way.

Physical therapy may make you uncomfortable at times, especially in the early stages, but it’s the best way to help the healing process, regain flexibility and movement, and do so in a manner that doesn’t create new injuries.

Improve Your Flexibility and Strength

As you work on your diet and focus on getting enough sleep, you also want to work on strengthening muscles. You’ll start this in physical therapy, but there’s one option you should discuss with your sports and orthopedics specialist. 

EMS training uses small electrical impulses to help strengthen muscles without needing heavy weights. It’s easier on your healing joints, and just as effective as a strenuous workout with weights. With EMS training, the electrical pulses stimulate muscle contractions, which helps strengthen them. You’ll find your muscle tone improves, which makes it easier to dive into more intensive workouts once you have the clearance from your doctor.

Return to the Field or Court

Do not jump right back in without first having clearance from your Fresno sports doctor. Once you do, transition back to the court or field, but make sure you’re still listening to your doctor’s advice. Start slow, make sure you warm up, and keep up with any recommendations for sports and fitness programs, pain management techniques, and tips for preventing re-injury.

You might find yourself scared of moving in the same way or getting into the same situation where the injury occurred. Sometimes, the mental hurdles are even harder than the physical ones. If you find anxiety is impacting how you play, tell your doctor. It’s better to address anxiety head-on than to try to stifle it and end up having panic attacks.

It may take time to build confidence and get back to where you were before. Make sure you’re not pushing yourself so hard that it causes more problems. If you can keep working with trainers and experts in sports fitness, do so to gain confidence, agility, and flexibility.

A successful recovery and prevention of reinjury requires time, patience, and strict adherence to the guidance from your Fresno sports physician. Arrange an appointment with the sports rehabilitation specialists at Premium Sports & Orthopedics. With the online scheduler, you can arrange a time at your convenience, but you can also call to schedule an appointment.

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