Sports Injuries Clinic Portland, OR

Sports Injuries

Eleanor Fulton

I’ve had numerous running injuries, from stress fractures to tendon tears, and Rose City Physical Therapy is always my first call. I’ve been constantly impressed and reassured throughout the process that Rose City PT understands my usual training intensity, and knows exactly what the best practices are for diagnosing, treating and returning to running in a timely fashion. Being sidelined by injury is inherently stressful, but Rose City PT makes it less so. I always know that I’m in great hands and highly recommend it to anyone.

Jacqueline Wiles

As a professional athlete, I believe it’s essential to have the best (physical ) therapist with a solid plan to return to sports. I have worked with many over the years, and I’m so glad to have found such a terrific physical therapist in Portland. My therapist is knowledgeable in all areas of rehab and genuinely cares. Rose City Physical Therapy is definitely the place to be!

Physical Therapy Can Help You Return to Your Sport

Sports Injury Keeping You On The Bench? Or Off the Track? Not For Much Longer! The Sports Injury Physical Therapists at Rose City Physical Therapy Are Here to Help Get You Back in The Game.

What is an athlete when it comes to a sports injury? Is it limited to a competitive collegiate or professional athlete? Not at all. At Rose City Physical Therapy we treat ‘athletes’ from all walks of life and across the age spectrum. From the high school soccer player, the club softball player, the weekend warrior who trains for fun runs or an annual marathon, and the professional athlete training for the Olympic stage. We’ve treated them all.  We like to say that all our patients are athletes, and all our athletes are patients.

No matter what level of fitness or sport activity you fall into, you are at risk of sports-related injury. Many athletes get hurt from improper form or playing and movement techniques – faulty biomechanics. It may be from the lack of proper coaching, or progressing too much too soon in training, or a predisposing muscle imbalance or limited motion or thighness at a joint. That’s why it’s important to see a physical therapist as soon as pain or limits to how much your body is tolerating with training sets in. A regular sports participation or pre-season screening can identify deficits in the body that predispose you to injury. And proper corrective exercises prescribed by a physical therapist can greatly reduce the risk of injury and make sure that you’re in tip top shape!

Whether you have a recent injury such as a sprain or shoulder dislocation, a chronic problem keeping you from getting back to full sport participation, or you just want to make sure you’re staying fit for the game, our Portland, OR sports medicine physical therapy practice can help you. Contact Rose City Physical Therapy today to set up your first appointment.

Common Sports Injuries

There are numerous injuries that can occur while performing athletic activity.  Sprains and strains, dislocations, and fractures (broken bones) are some of the more common different kinds of injuries that can occur.

Each sport trends toward certain injuries than another sport. For example, ‘shin splints’ are common in the high school and early collegiate runner or soccer player, but not the seasoned collegiate or professional runner or soccer player. Wrestlers tend to separate the AC joint or dislocate the shoulder. And football and soccer players, and skiers tear the ACL at the knee. Below are some common sports related injuries we treat at Rose City Physical Therapy:


A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched beyond its limits. It may partially get injured, or fully tear and create instability at a joint. A ligament is like a leather strap or belt that holds two bones together. If injury occurs to a ligament, the motion between the two bones it reinforces  gets ‘loose and wobbly.” Once a sprain occurs and a ligament is overstretched, it is more likely that it’ll occur again.

Strain: “Pulled muscle” or tendon injury

A strain affects the muscle and/or tendon. Tendons connect muscle to bone and when a muscle contracts, the tendon transfers the load or force created by the muscle to the bone it attaches to, and causes the bone to move.  Stains typically occur when a muscle or tendon is stretched beyond its normal length, especially under an abrupt load.


A dislocation by definition is one where one bone moves off the other and stays there. It does not relocate (go back into place) on its own.  A subluxation on the other hand is where one bone will move partially or fully off the other, but spontaneously reduce (reset) back to the normal position. Subluxations, once it occurs the first time, tend to be recurrent and can cause limited function. And a joint that has recurrent subluxations is much more likely to dislocate at some point.

Shoulder dislocation and patella dislocation are the two most common dislocations related to sports. A shoulder dislocation occurs when the humerus (upper arm bone) pops out of the joint from the glenoid (socket). This injury can be traumatic from a fall or having the arm wretched backward by an opponent when it’s in an overhead position, or can be the result of inherent looseness at the shoulder or small recurrent injuries that destabilize the shoulder and eventually create enough “laxity” (looseness) at the joint that it can dislocate.

The acromioclavicular joint (or “AC joint”) at the shoulder can also dislocate. This however is medically referred to as a “separation”. 

At the knee, a patella dislocation on the other hand almost always occurs as the result of a single episode force at the knee which causes the kneecap to “pop out”. More often than not it is a non-contact injury – meaning there wasn’t another athlete i.e. opponent, that collided with him whose patella dislocates. There are some predisposing factors to patella dislocation: young female, weak hip or quadriceps, and poor jump landing mechanics for example.


A fracture is a broken bone. Some require surgery. Some do not. Fractures clearly are due to trauma; but not always. There is one type of fracture that can occur, typically in the female endurance athlete, that is called a bone stress fracture. A bone stress fracture is a classification of a bone stress injury (BSI). Bone stress injuries are the result of over training especially in light of faulty body mechanics commonly with running form. Like muscle during strength training, when we exercise we also put demand on the bone and cause minute breakdown of the bone. Rest after activity allows the bone to remodel and get stronger. But if there is insufficient rest, the bone never has time to recover and eventually edema (swelling) in the bone marrow can occur. This is referred to as a bone stress reaction. If a bone stress reaction progresses to a certain level, a full stress fracture can occur.

What do I do if I have a sports injury?

One of the most important aspects to rehabilitating a sports injury is treating it as soon as possible. Often, an athlete or the athlete’s coach will attempt to self manage a low grade injury. Unfortunately, this almost always doesn’t work and eventually the athlete ends up in physical therapy with what is now a bigger pain and problem, including pulling the athlete from training. Once you notice pain is limiting your ability to train, or causing compensation or ‘cheating’ to minimize pain but still try to get through training or competition, you should call our Portland, OR physical therapist for an assessment. Your treatment plan and duration of recovery will vary depending on how acute the injury is, how severe the injury is, your overall health, and whether or not the injury requires surgical or other medical intervention. It’s a good idea to contact a professional for help as soon as possible!

Contact Rose City Physical Therapy Today for Your Sports Injury

If you have recently sustained a painful sports injury, stop trying to treat it by yourself. Rest will only go so far and in fact, research supports that rest for many injuries is not what you want to do. And icing it will only go so far! Our Portland, OR physical therapists are highly trained movement specialists and our diverse backgrounds ensure we have someone that specializes in treating the problem you’re dealing with. Through physical evaluations, they will be able to examine your moving body in order to decide the best treatment plan for your specific needs. 

They will discuss your medical history with you, especially the history of past injuries related to your specific sport, and complete a thorough clinical examination that takes into account sport specific functional movement. Your physical therapist may recommend an orthopedic consult with one of the great orthopedics we have a great working relationship with. Once your diagnosis has been determined, our physical therapist will create a specialized treatment plan for you, taking into account the nature of your injury, your fitness level and lifestyle, the stableness or irritability of the problem, and where in the phase of tissue healing you are. Our ultimate goal at Rose City Physical Therapy is to see you through recovery and make sure you aren’t benched for a longer period of time than is necessary, and get you back to the sports you love.

Various aspects of treatment will be provided. First and foremost is educating you on the injury and game plan to get you on the road to recovery. From a modalities based perspective, therapeutic sport specific exercise and functional movement is paramount. Balance, coordination and other neuromuscular exercises are also provided. Manual therapy is commonly used by our physical therapists to help with restoring mobility, manage pain and increase joint ranges of motion. In acute or early post-op rehab, there is often less dynamic activity and exercise and we may use some limited modalities to help get rid of pain, swelling and inflammation, and muscle spasms or guarding.

Sports Injury Specialty Programs at Rose City Physical Therapy

Our diverse backgrounds and extensive experience amongst our senior physical therapists have afforded us the opportunity for advanced education and speciality certifications as orthopedic clinical specialist and sports clinical specialists. This translates into sports specialization program development.

Areas of specialty for sports physical therapy include:

  • ACL injury rehab – conservative (non-operative) care and post-operative – common in the football, soccer and downhill skiing athletes
    • Rose City Physical Therapy is a certified Sportsmetrics(™) clinic which is a program steeped in research and evidence that offers a proven injury reduction program designed to decrease ACL injuries.
  • Shoulder injury rehab for overhead athletes…the pitcher, swimmer, tennis player, and rock climber
  • Running injuries…we’ve treated runners of all ages, skill sets and experience from the high school and collegiate competitive runner, the weekend warrior and community event road racer, and professional runners competing on the world championship and olympic team stages
  • Sports Concussion Management

Be Proactive: Call to Set Up Your Preseason or Pre-Participation Sports Injury Risk Reduction Screening

Rose City Physical Therapy offers preseason or pre-participation sports specific screens to reduce injury risk. These screens include flexibility, core stability, strength and functional movement assessment curtailed to individual sports. Any areas of the body with a deficit are identified in the athlete, and individualized corrective exercises are provided to get strong, stretched and stable – all designed to reduce the risk of injury.   Before you start your season, consult one of our physical therapists to assess your readiness. If you have recently sustained a sports injury, request an appointment with Rose City Physical Therapy at Portland, OR to find out more about how we can help you return quickly and safely to the activities you love. We can get you started on the road to pain relief and recovery!