Many active people favor the summer season. Longer daylight hours and warmer weather means runners can get in more miles after work, hikers can hit clear trails and kids have the time off school to attend sports camps and play outside.
While this time of year means people are more likely to get much-needed exercise, injury rates will typically increase as a result as well. For travel physical therapists, this could mean an influx of patients to prepare for. Here are some of the most common summertime injuries:
"Travel therapists should anticipate seeing an increase in sports-related injuries."
1. Sprains Whether they occur while friends are running in the backyard to toss a Frisbee around or student athletes are training hard for the upcoming school year, travel therapists should anticipate seeing an increase in sports-related injuries this summer, The Huffington Post reported. Ligament injuries are very common. People who are casually active, like those who get together for a quick pick up game of touch football at the park without a formal training regime, can be susceptible to sprained ankles and knees if they don't warm-up properly before hand. Even experienced athletes can roll their ankles running on uneven terrain, or hyperextending their joints during intense activity.
Patients will need help reducing the pain in their injured joints and expediting recovery. If they don't treat their sprain seriously and correctly, they could prolong the injury. Travel physical therapists should take the time to get to know these new patients and learn more about their activities. People who endure sprains in a sports-related injury likely have different goals for recovery than the average person, and it'll be important for you to help tailor their treatment to allow them to work their way back up to their peak performance level. Educate them on ways they can stretch and warm up to prevent these kind of sprains going forward.
2. Strains Overuse can create muscle and tendon injuries as well. Tennis elbow may be common, and not just among tennis players. Too much use in the hands, wrists and elbows from gardening, throwing, swimming and rowing can contribute to tendonitis or tendon tears as people try to get the most out of their summer activities. Patients may sustain an acute muscle strain when they suddenly tear a muscle during high-intensity activity, or can gradually develop a prolonged strain during repeated overuse. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses reported that work-related injuries increase in the summer as well, which can be partially attributed to an increase in manual labor this time of year, causing overuse injuries on job sites.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reported that patients being treated for strains will need physical therapy to reduce pain and improve mobility. It will be important for them to rest until they are fully healed to avoid exacerbating the injury again.
3. Concussions Concussions are a serious injury for anyone, but they can be especially damaging for children, seniors and people who have not yet fully healed from a prior concussion. Unfortunately, these brain injuries may increase in the summer if people aren't careful with their activities. Children who don't wear helmets and then fall off their bikes, swimmers who dive into a too-shallow pool or athletes who play contact sports could all end up with a concussion.
In some cases, concussed patients can benefit from vestibular rehabilitation with a physical therapist to restore their balance and decrease vertigo and visual disruptions following a head injury, the American Physical Therapy Association stated.
Dr. Daniel Corwin from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia told the Philadelphia Inquirer that not only do concussions increase in the summer because of the change in activities compared to colder months, but being out of school can actually make children more vulnerable to these injuries. If they aren't keeping up with any reading, writing or similar cognitive performances, their vestibular systems weaken, hindering their balance and increasing the chances they could fall and hit their heads. As such, kids who are treated for concussion should be advised to incorporate some kind of light academic work into their recovery program.
Summer is a time of fun and adventure for many people. Travel physical therapists should be prepared to help patients who get injured during their activities this summer and getting them back to good health so they don't miss out on the rest of the season.