When athletes are recovering from an injury, there will always come a point in their rehabilitation program where they ask themselves, “Can I return to my sport now?” Traditional Physical Therapy tests that test strength, flexibility and range of motion sometimes isn’t enough to determine whether an athlete is rehabilitated enough to start sport-specific training. The athlete’s body needs to be pushed into performing drills and holding positions that tax the body as a whole, and only then can we determine whether they can hold up to the demands of the task, and whether the athlete is at risk for more injury.
Usually, we do this type of testing when a patient is painfree, has progressed through more advanced strength exercises, and has been given the OK by MD, if recovering from a surgery, to perform more impact type activities. These tests compare the involved arm/leg to the uninjured arm/leg in regards to things like jumping and landing, speed of movement, change of direction movements, and quality of a sports specific movement (meaning just because you can do a certain movement but your form is bad doesn’t mean you’re ready to hit the field/court/ice).
I often like to take a video of patients as they are doing certain movements and show them what they look like, especially if the form is poor. The visual can be really helpful for a person to see what the problem is and work on retraining their body to move properly. If you are an active person or athlete and are having pain in the hip, knee, ankle, don’t hesitate to come into PT and during the course of your treatments, we can incorporate this kind of testing to see how ready you are to return back to your activity. Give me a call if you have any questions!
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