What Does a Sports Physical Therapist Treat?

A sports physical therapist can help in your physical rehabilitation.

If you’ve had an injury while doing sports or any physical activity, you can go to a sports physical therapist to get proper treatment.

Sports physical therapy is an essential component of a medical treatment team. They work closely with primary care doctors and orthopedic surgeons who specialize and focus on sports medicine. A sports physical therapist will carefully evaluate a sports injury – whether it’s runner’s knee condition, sprained ankle because of basketball, or whatever else.

Based on this evaluation, he or she will devise a treatment plan to get the patients back to their normal and healthy condition. In many cases, a sports physical therapist can also help athletes and other patients to improve their athletic performance and avoid any future injuries.

How can sports physical therapy help me?

This branch of physical therapy specializes in helping patients rehabilitate from or prevent an athletic-related injury.

As we mentioned above, sports physical therapists team up with sports medicine doctors – usually in dedicated sports medicine clinics. The close interaction and working relationship with other healthcare providers mean that they work as a team to provide the treatment and care plan you need.

A sports physical therapist can treat runner's knee.

Depending on how severe the sports-related injury is, sports physical therapy is usually the first treatment recommendation for patients that doctors will recommend.

If the injury needs surgery, a sports physical therapist can also help the patient prepare for it as well as watch over the physical rehabilitation following the surgical procedure.

Not Only for Sports Professionals

You don’t have to be a sports personality or professional to get the benefits of sports physical therapy. Whether it’s your goal to walk the dog every day without any pain or discomfort, prepare your body for taking on swimming or hiking as a hobby, or whatever your physical goals are, this branch of physical therapy may just be the answer you’re looking for.

Sports Physical Therapists: Qualifications

The path to becoming a licensed physical therapist specializing in sports medicine can get rigorous. All states across the country require professionals to obtain a license before practicing sports physical therapy, and they must meet the following requirements.

Bachelor’s Degree

Bachelor’s degree majoring in exercise physiology, exercise science, or athletic training. Students may also take other science educations such as biochemistry, biology, physiology, and other bio-medicine studies. These harder sciences college degrees will also pave the way if you want to become a doctor or get into the biomedical fields.

During the undergraduate period, students should consider getting an internship or working at a sports therapy clinic. This is a foolproof way of getting the much-needed knowledge and experience to prepare themselves as a sports physical therapist.

Master’s or Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy

As you know, a bachelor’s degree is required before getting into a Master’s or Doctorate degree program. It’s the same way in sports physical therapy.

Physical Therapy License

Before becoming a sports physical therapist, there are several requirements to complete.

To obtain a license in sports physical therapy, you must already be a practicing physical therapist.

This goes without saying, but you must also have already passed the National Physical Therapy Examination to get the license to practice in the field.

On top of getting the license, you must also have had direct experience in treating patients with sports-related injuries and activities.

For more important information, you can get in touch with the American Physical Therapy Association. This connection will give you the information you need in invaluable networking opportunities.

Become Sports Certified

The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties requires professionals to have an unrestricted license or current permanent license to be a physical therapist in the country and pass a certification exam before they become certified to practice sports physical therapy.

Rehabilitation and Treatment

Sports physical therapists play a vital role in the rehabilitation, recovery, treatment, and care of individuals with sports-related conditions and injuries. They usually work in outpatient clinics, hospitals, wellness centers, colleges, and universities, or with a professional sports team – but most will have their own private practices.