Whether it's tennis elbow, runner's knee or another type of pain, an unexpected sports injury can put you on the bench. Each year, millions of people are injured playing sports, with the most injuries caused by basketball and bicycling.

The reason? Many people start playing without proper training or conditioning. Many sports injuries can be avoided by wearing protective gear and being in good condition.

Fortunately today, rehabilitation for sports injuries like strains, sprains, fractures and torn ligaments and tendons can get you back in the game quicker than ever.

Rehabilitation and recovery

After the initial injury, which may require surgery, casting or bracing, rehabilitation can help you regain motion and strength in the injured area. Your physician or therapist will outline a plan that will take you through a number of steps toward recovery. You may start with simple range of motion exercises and strength training. After you've built up your strength you may begin exercising with greater intensity.

As you progress on to higher levels of exercise, your therapist will continue to monitor your actions. Complete recovery and rehabilitation not only allows you to get back in the game, but also makes another injury less likely.

Learn from professional athletes

Have you ever noticed how quickly some athletes get back in the game after an injury? You can reduce the time you are out of action by following a few of their habits:

  • Stay in good shape all year - Being in good condition can prevent injuries, reduce severity of injuries that do occur and help you heal faster. Injuries often occur when muscles that aren't used to being worked are put into action too quickly.
  • Don't ignore injuries - Getting help as early as possible will ensure that injuries don't get so bad that extreme treatment is needed. Overusing one part of the body can lead to chronic pain and swelling that if not treated, can lead to more serious injuries.
  • Get help from the pros - When your injury warrants it, working with a physical therapist or athletic trainer can help get you back in the game more quickly and prevent injury in the future.

Look to your doctor for more tips and tricks

Although rehabilitation can help you play again sooner, injury prevention should be your main priority. For more information on preventing injuries or rehabilitation options if you were recently injured, your doctor is a valuable resource when it comes to both getting back on your feet and staying in shape.

To find a doctor or speak to a nurse, call Consult-A-Nurse® at (951) 788-3463, 24 hours a day.

Sources: AAOS.org, NIAMS.NIH.gov