The benefits of physical therapy for athletes
As October marks National Physical Therapy Month, a local physical therapist weighs in on the practice.
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — When it comes to sports, physical therapy plays an important role.
Known to reduce pain, increase mobility in athletes as well as help heal and prevent injuries.
“We look to find the underlying source of the pain rather than what is just hurting," said Mankato Clinic Physical Therapist Jacob Nienow.
Physical therapists work directly with athletes, tailoring exercises specifically to the athlete and sport.
“Every sport is going to have their own set of biomechanical issues meaning that the athlete is going to overuse certain muscles and certain movement patterns," said Nienow.
He continues that it is better to go in sooner than later.
“These athletes have these movement impairments and your body is really good at compensating. So your body can compensate for a long time, but when your body moves in an un-optimable way, it leads to little micro trauma and shear force through the body and over time this can have a really negative effect on the body and the athletic performance of that athlete,"said Nienow.
With that Nienow adds it’s important to pay attention to signs of discomfort within the body.
For example, as this week marks Mankato Marathon’s virtual run Nienow says hip weakness is a common issue in runners. That if addressed early on, it can prevent future injury.
“It (hip weakness) really creates an awkward force down through the legs, so usually that develops and they’re not loading well through the knee and they won’t load well through the ankle but it started because they weren’t stabilizing well at the hip," said Nienow.
Adding that the goal of physical therapy is to get people back into an active lifestyle.
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