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Aquatic Physiotherapy Part 1: Rehabilitation of Athletic Injuries

Rehabilitation for sports injuries may cause transitory rest and discontinued training. This often frustrate the athletes and athletic individuals.

For example, ankle sprains injuries are the most common musculoskeletal injuries that occur in competitive and recreational athletes.

Unfortunately, ankle sprains are often only partially treated - more than 40% of ankle sprains are recurrent, and this can lead to chronic ankle instability (CAI) and ankle osteoarthritis.

Ankle sprains injuries often require an athlete to rest for an average of 1-3 weeks, with no participation in competitions or training. Up to 3 weeks of inactivity can lead to a significant loss of cardiovascular fitness, and 6 weeks of rest can lead to a decrease of as much as 14- 16% of maximal oxygen consumption.

Additionally, it has been reported that stress to affect collagen fibers in injured ligaments through functional rehabilitation helps with accurate alignment of the collagen fibers.

Due to these reasons, rehabilitation of athletes is initiated as quickly as 1st week , while respecting the constraints of healing.

The aquatic environment is ideal for early rehabilitation of injuries due to buoyancy, which decreases the effects of gravity on the body, and at the same time offers assistance or resistance.

Performing joint movements in water provides limb support and allows range of motion, without excessive muscle activation. This allows a transition to more advanced dynamic strengthening or conditioning exercises on dry land.

Aquatic physical therapy helps athletes return to exercise early and speeds up the overall rehabilitation process.

Many athletes have found utilization of a water-based program during their active rest period of recovery to be beneficial in regaining mobility and, strength, and maintaining or improving cardiovascular endurance, while resting the injured area.

Related product for aquatic physiotherapy: Aquabelt