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Sports Rehabilitation

The Johns Hopkins Sports Rehabilitation Program is designed to assess, treat and educate athletes of all ages and experience levels, from adolescent athletes to weekend warriors and seasoned professionals. Our team is trained to help you recover from an injury, recognize risk factors or improve your athletic performance so that you can participate in your favorite activities for years to come.

Sports Rehabilitation: Why Choose Johns Hopkins

  • We treat adolescent, collegiate, recreational and professional athletes who participate in all kinds of sports and activities.
  • Our expert team consists of rehabilitation physicians and physical therapists who are current and former athletes with a deep understanding of how sports injuries happen. We are trained to perform sport- and injury-specific return-to-sport testing, using the most current research to ensure an optimal and safe return to activity.
  • We tailor treatment to your sport, including specialized programs for performing artists and runners.
  • We study the latest research on sports rehabilitation and train the next generation of therapists through our Sports Physical Therapy Residency Program.
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How We Help Athletes

Injury Prevention

Our sports rehabilitation experts are familiar with common injuries associated with each sport. Through a comprehensive examination, we can evaluate your body movements to screen you for movement patterns or muscular imbalances that may increase your risk for injury. From there, we will provide a tailored education and training program to help you adjust your technique to avoid injury and improve athletic performance.

Physical Therapy for Sports Injuries

As athletes, we understand the drive to return to sport after an injury. Many sports injuries with a proper recovery plan can heal without surgery. Whether you have a muscle strain or a stress fracture, we offer therapies to reduce inflammation and promote healing, while helping you increase activity gradually and safely.

We use a specific battery of sport- and injury-specific testing to gauge an athlete’s readiness to return to a particular competition or activity. Our testing involves a comprehensive examination based on the most current research to determine physical and psychological recovery that needs to happen to safely transition back to sport. Whether the testing shows that you are ready or not, our team is trained to evaluate the results and tailor your rehabilitation program accordingly.

Post-Surgical Rehabilitation

If surgical treatment is necessary, we partner with specialists in orthopaedics and other areas to provide comprehensive care. After your procedure, our board-certified therapists can help you regain your strength and function, as well as teach you strategies to prevent reinjury.

A woman undergoes the VO2 Max test

Performance Testing for Athletes

Looking to get more data around your fitness and endurance beyond what a fitness tracker can offer? The Johns Hopkins Performance Testing program offers a variety of tests for athletes who want to better understand their bodies’ potential and limits. VO2 Max testing, resting metabolic rate analysis and body composition analysis can help you design a more effective training program and/or make lifestyle changes to support your fitness goals.

Learn more about performance testing.

Conditions We Treat

  • Overuse injuries of the foot, ankle, shoulder, elbow, knee, hip and spine.
  • Traumatic injuries such as dislocations, fractures, broken bones and ligament tears.
  • Sport-specific injuries such as tennis elbow, runner’s knee, golfer’s and baseball elbow and more.
  • Post-operative deconditioning from procedures such as joint replacement, ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair.
  • Arthritis and general pain that cause an unwanted decrease in activity level.
  • Post-concussion syndrome (prolonged symptoms following a concussion) and return-to-sport conditioning after a concussion.

Our Sports Rehabilitation Technology

Our team uses a range of technologies to provide cutting-edge care, including body tracking mats, force plates and blood-flow restriction therapy. Depending on your needs, we may recommend one or more of these options.

A runner using the antigravity treadmill

Anti-Gravity Treadmill
An anti-gravity treadmill was originally designed to help astronauts exercise in space. But it was later adapted to do quite the opposite: help people on the ground feel weightless. This machine can reduce the gravitational force on your body by as much as 80%. It allows people with injuries or those recovering from surgery to start physical therapy earlier than many other therapies. The amount of weight you bear can be gradually increased to help you safely return to your favorite sport.

A therapist inserting a needle into a man's neck

Dry Needling
Dry needling is similar to acupuncture, but involves different methodology. This technique involves inserting fine needles — without any sort of medication — deep into a muscle or trigger point. Used as a complementary treatment to therapeutic exercise and other mobilization techniques, it can help relieve pain and tension and improve function.

A physical therapist using manual therapy on a patient's ankle

Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)
Soft tissue mobilization involves physically moving tissues such as skin, tendons and muscles. This is done with special metal instruments shaped to glide over the skin as a physical therapist applies pressure. Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization can help reduce pain, strain and stress. It can be used to treat many conditions, including ligament, tendon and muscle pain, postural abnormalities and post-surgical scar adhesions.

A runner on the instrumented treadmill

Instrumented Treadmill
With the help of the instrumented treadmill, we can adjust speed and incline to simulate a variety of running conditions. The running surface of this treadmill is one big sensor that can track many parameters. It allows us to measure the force of your steps, pressure points on your soles, your balance and timing, and much more. This data can help us identify gait issues — an important step for treating injuries or preventing them.

A physical therapist applying laser therapy to a patient's foot

Laser Therapy
Laser therapy uses light to reduce pain and help your body heal itself. As photons penetrate the skin, they interact with tissues down to the cellular level. The light from the laser can affect many processes, including cellular metabolism, enzyme activation, blood circulation and even tissue regeneration. It may take several sessions before you start feeling the effects of laser therapy.

A team of physical therapists guiding a patient on the gait analysis treadmill

Motion and Gait Analysis
Our motion analysis equipment consists of light-emitting diode (LED) markers, several high-speed video cameras and specialized analytics software. The LED markers are placed in several locations along the side of your body. As you walk or run, the video cameras capture the movement in real time. The LED markers help us see the exact position of your joints in relation to each other. With the help of this specialized software, we analyze your gait and identify problem areas.

A physical therapist using the myofascial acoustic compression therapy machine on a patient's foot

Myofascial Acoustic Compression Therapy
Myofascial acoustic compression therapy is one of the nonsurgical approaches to pain treatment. It uses soundwaves to reach unhealthy tissues in your body that respond to this type of energy. This treatment is similar to a deep tissue massage, but doesn’t take nearly as long. It works well for relieving acute and chronic pain in joints, muscles and tendons.

A physical therapists showcasing the negative pressure massage equipment

Negative Pressure Massage
Negative pressure (vacuum) can be applied to certain areas of the body using a special device. One of its health benefits is the activation of the lymphatic system, which helps move metabolic waste that may slow down the healing process. Negative pressure can also be used to stretch the connective tissue underneath the skin. This, in turn, helps improve blood circulation and lymph flow, which leads to reduced pain and swelling.

A physical therapist uses a simulator to help a patient with his golf swing

Sports Simulator
Sports simulation technology allows for lifelike gameplay of sports such as golf, baseball and lacrosse. As you use the simulator under the supervision of our therapists, we analyze your movements to help you refine your technique and make adjustments to prevent injury.

A physical therapist tapes a patient's arm

Athletic Taping
Athletic (sports) taping involves applying a special type of tape directly to the skin to help hold bones and muscles in a specific position. Athletic taping can be used to relieve pain, stabilize joints and muscles, and promote healing. There are many different methods of taping, and our experienced therapists will determine which one is right for you.


Our Sports Rehabilitation Team

Our team of sports physical therapists includes board-certified sports specialists with expertise in a variety of sports and sports injuries.

John Dale, physical therapist in Timonium, MD

John Dale

Physical Therapist

Ken Johnson, physical therapist in Timonium, MD

Ken Johnson

Physical Therapist, Director of Rehabilitation Therapy Services Outreach

John Shipley, physical therapist

John Shipley

Physical Therapist

Learn more about our sports rehabilitation therapists.

We also work closely with sports medicine physicians to better coordinate your care.

Learn more about our orthopaedic sports medicine team.

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