How to Use Whirlpool Therapy to Treat Sports Injuries

9th Jul 2018

Posted by Sara Zuboff on

How to Use Whirlpool Therapy to Treat Sports Injuries

For athletes and active patients alike, hydrotherapy is a natural therapy that helps rehab sports injuries. Not only is hydrotherapy like whirlpool therapy relaxing for patients, but it can be used to improve functional movement while reducing any pain and tenderness.

A study published in the Journal of Athletic Training found that whirlpool therapy offers significant improvement in muscle soreness after an injury. Studies have found that whirlpool therapy is effective, but it’s also a non-invasive treatment that does not have side effects like typical oral pain medications.

The 5 Main Benefits of Whirlpool Therapy

Pain Relief

Sports injuries are common with sports that have a high risk of bodily compact or repetitive use of specific joints. Physical stress is higher with these types of activities too. Most sports injuries cause significant pain and/or swelling at the site of the injury. What’s more, pain can also radiate to surrounding areas and limit functional movement and range of motion. Whirlpool therapy is an effective treatment to help reduce pain. The buoyancy provided by hydrotherapy provides significant relief for pain and pressure. The buoyancy of the water coupled with the stimulation of endorphins work to ease tenderness and muscle tension.

Improve Blood Circulation

When a patient suffers from a sports injury, like a sprain or strain, blood circulation can be impeded in the injured area. Not only does hydrotherapy help improve blood flow to the injured area, but it will also help bring oxygen to the damaged tissues helping to jumpstart the healing process. Improvements in blood circulation will also aid in regaining function faster.

Strengthen the Immune System

With the improvement made to blood circulation, the damaged tissues and cells are brought needed oxygen. This creates a lymph drainage effects that helps rid the body of toxins. Less toxins in the body means the patient’s immune system is strengthened which helps reduce recovery times and decreases risks of complications post-recovery.

Reduces Stress & Improves Recovery Time

Stress is a typical part of life, from traffic jams to rigorous physical activities. However, stress can be due to pain from a sports injury which directly inhibits a patient’s ability to function as well as prior to the injury. Whirlpool therapy is an efficient way to reduce stress which aids in decreasing pain and recovery times.

Improving functional movement and range of motion

Whirlpool therapy, particularly warm water hydrotherapy can help improve functional movement, while cold water therapy can help aid faster healing for injuries that impede movement. Whirlpool therapy is particularly effective when paired with therapeutic exercise and stretching. With the reduction in stress and improvement in blood circulation, tissues and muscles become more pliable and responsive to treatment.

Sports injuries require targeted treatment to get the most efficient recovery and a reduced risk for recurrent injuries and complications. Not only that, but athletes are at a higher risk for pushing training before their body may be ready to resume such rigorous activity. Whirlpool therapy can help aid in the recovery in a wide variety of sports injuries, helping our athletic patients get back in the game sooner rather than later.

Whirlpool Therapy for Sports Injuries

Shoulder injuries: Shoulder impingement syndrome and rotator cuff tears are typical injuries in sports like swimming or tennis. Warm water whirlpool therapy is beneficial in improving pain and tenderness while improving range of motion with shoulder injuries.

Pro-Tip: Whitehall’s Hi-Boy whirlpool is a stationary hydrotherapy tub that is perfect for treating shoulder and upper back injuries. Not only that, but it is the perfect choice for clinics with varied patient populations and can provide complete coverage for the back, hip and shoulder areas.

Sprains & Strains: Sprains and strains are a common sports injury and can occur with any physical therapy from hiking and running to tennis and soccer. Characterized by acute pain from the initial injury coupled with swelling and edema which will limit a patient’s functional movement.

If left untreated, patients are at a higher risk for recurrent sprains and strains, particularly if they do not receive sufficient movement re-education for safer participation in their favorite sport.

Pro-Tip: Sprains and strains that occur with in the wrist, elbow, knee or ankle can be easily treated with hydrotherapy with an extremity whirlpool. With stationary or mobile units, Whitehall’s extremity whirlpools are a great addition to any clinic.

Tendonitis or Bursitis: Tendonitis and Bursitis are repetitive use injuries that most commonly effect the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee and ankle. Both tendonitis and bursitis are caused by inflammation or degeneration (breakdown) of the soft tissue around muscles and bones and can cause patient’s significant pain and a reduction in function.

Pro-Tip: Both tendonitis and bursitis can also be treated with extremity whirlpools or with Whitehall’s stationary Lo-Boy whirlpool therapy tub. The Lo-Boy was designed for clinics interested in permanent installation and has direct plumbing connections to the water supply and drain. The Lo-Boy can treat various extremities in addition to the hip and back.

Fractures: Recovering from a fracture can be a time-consuming process accompanied by pain, swelling and reduced range of motion. Fractures can occur in most sports, including soccer, football, and hockey. Not only will hydrotherapy help reduce these symptoms, but it will support a rehabilitation regimen that includes muscular re-education and strength training, which can trigger additional tenderness and edema.

Pro-Tip: Depending on the body part, a table-top whirlpool tub can be used to treat some fractures, for example: the forearm or elbow. This tub is a great choice for practices that have space constraints. For sports practices with more space, Whitehall’s Sports Whirlpool Therapy System is a great choice to treat a wide-variety of body parts and injuries, including fractures.

Contact Us Today

We can help your practice find the perfect whirlpool therapy tub. Contact us today and we’ll answer any questions you may have about adding this popular, effective hydrotherapy modality to your clinic! Not only that, but our whirlpools can be completely customized with your logo and practice colors to help increase brand recognition. Call us today at 1-801-770-3328 for more information.