Can Physical Therapy Help an Old Injury? | PT Effect

Can Physical Therapy Help an Old Injury?

It’s never too late to treat an old injury
Read Time: 2 minutes
Aug 4, 2021

Physical therapy has many benefits in helping to heal injuries. PT exercises and stretches can speed up recovery and even reduce reliance on medication during the healing process. But what about older injuries? Can physical therapy help an old injury, or is it too late to treat?

Why It’s Important to Treat Old Injuries

It’s important to treat old injuries to prevent further injury, cut down on the risk of arthritis, and avoid chronic pain caused by the old injury.

Even if an injury is old and you’re used to dealing with it, it’s still a good idea to get it treated. Dealing with chronic pain from a bum knee or a back injury can not only affect your quality of life but can also result in further injury to other parts of your body. Plus, if you’ve been taking medication to deal with pain from the old injury, physical therapy can help reduce your reliance on it.

What Happens If You Don’t Treat an Injury Immediately?

person receiving therapy with smart cuff on leg

Some injuries seem minor. A muscle tear or a sprained ankle, for example, don’t seem serious enough to need physical therapy. Many minor injuries can heal on their own and require no medical intervention. However, there’s a risk that if you let an injury go untreated that it won’t heal correctly. This can have a domino effect of causing your body to adapt around managing the injury instead of going back completely to normal.

An improperly healed injury can increase the risk of arthritis at that location. Plus, if your body is compensating for an injury instead of moving normally, you may be putting extra strain on your joints, tendons, muscles, and more.

When Is It Too Late to Treat an Injury?

It is never too late to treat an injury. Of course, it’s ideal to treat an injury right away to prevent further injury and reduce the need for medications to manage pain. However, even if an injury has gone untreated, it’s never too late to begin treating it. Even years later, physical therapy can help an old injury.

How Does Physical Therapy Help an Old Injury?

Physical therapy, including stretching and flexibility work, strength training exercises, and endurance training exercises can help to reduce the symptoms from the injury. This also means that physical therapy can help to reduce any chronic pain experienced because of the injury. With less pain, you’ll also need less pain medication, which is especially important in cases where the prescribed medication is a highly addictive opiate.

Additionally, physical therapy can help to improve your strength and increase your range of motion in the injured area. These benefits are applicable no matter when the injury is treated, even if it’s years later.

Contact us to schedule your first physical therapy session for old injuries. No matter the injury, our team of experienced professionals are here to help.

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Mark Shulman

Dr. Mark Shulman

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), FAAOMPT, COMT, CSCS


Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists.

Mark Shulman

Dr. Allison McKay

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), PRPC


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San Diego, CA 92101