Sports Injury? Use An Exercise Ball To Get Back Into The Game

An exercise ball is something that physical therapists use in their work with people that have sports injuries, as well as other types of problems. If your physical therapist is planning to use this type of sports physical therapy with you, below is some information to help you better understand it.

Choosing the Right Ball

Exercise balls come in a variety of sizes, and are made out of solid foam rubber, plastic, or vinyl. Your physical therapist will determine the size you need. When determining this, they will choose a ball that fits your height and leg length. They will also have you sit on the ball to determine if your knees and hips are at a 90-degree angle when your feet are flat on the floor.

If you plan to use an exercise ball at home, visit a physical therapist who can help you choose the right fit.

If you cannot see a physical therapist soon and want to go ahead and start using an exercise ball, then go by several guidelines including:

  • Feet flat on the floor when sitting on the ball.
  • Knees should be slightly lower or level with your pelvis, and at a 90-degree angle at your knees and hips.
  • Sit on the ball with your shoulders and pelvis in a vertical line. Make sure your body does not lean to either side or back. If you feel you are out of line, bounce on the ball lightly to produce alignment.

The therapist will also use your weight when determining the best size. This is because exercise balls have resistance because they are flexible.

Over time, the exercise ball will lose air, so it is important that you inflate it. It is important, however, that they are not over inflated or it will make it difficult for you to balance on the ball.

If your body height to weight is larger than average, the therapist may recommend moving up to the next larger ball so you can maintain the 90-degree angle. If you are close to this angle, the therapist may release some air in the ball.

Using the Exercise Ball

When first starting to use the exercise ball, the therapist may have you sit on it for up to 30 minutes, bouncing lightly to make sure you can keep the proper balance.

The type of exercises you do on the ball depends on the type of injury you have. One example exercise if you have a back injury includes:

  • Kneel down in front of the ball with your abdomen pressed on top of it. Your hands should be resting on each side of the exercise ball.
  • The therapist will have you extend your legs and arms to extend your back, and then return to the position you started in.
  • Take a short pause and then do the exercise again.

Your therapist will go over the exercises you can do on the exercise ball to help you with your injury.