What is Sports Physiotherapy?
As its name suggests, Sports Physiotherapy is a specific branch of Physiotherapy that deals exclusively with injuries sustained by athletes while engaging in their sport. Sports injuries differ from everyday injuries in that they tend to be more acute, since athletes put a larger amount of stress on their bodies than most people. As such, the treatment of sports injuries requires a professional that is not only knowledgeable in the practice of Physiotherapy, but also in how specific sports impact the body.
Sports injuries can be acute, chronic, or just a twinge that won’t disappear. Acute pain resulting from a sports injury is intense and debilitating, but generally short-lived (with proper treatment). Chronic pain resulting from this kind of injury is persistent, taking a long time to heal. Twinges are exactly as they sound: occasional muscular twitches, spasms or jolts of pain that occur periodically and are also persistent. The goal of treatment involves the protection of the injured tissues to heal and control the early inflammatory phases and to improve flexibility, strength and proprioception (or muscle-imbalance) to ensure the safe return of the athlete to their sport.
What Is Physiotherapy?
Sometimes also called Physical Therapy, Physiotherapy is designed to assist patients in restoring and maintaining their body strength and movement, as well as improving their overall wellbeing. By necessity, physiotherapists use their extensive knowledge of the working mechanics of the body, combined with a hands-on clinical approach, to assess the patient and treat their illness, injury or disability. A Physiotherapist can also rehabilitate the muscular workings of the patient’s body and arm them with techniques for reducing or preventing injury.
How can Sports Physiotherapy Help?
There are a number of key ways in which physiotherapy can help an athlete to recover from an injury, or to maximize their muscular performance. These include:
- Promoting strength and flexibility
- Increasing the athlete’s freedom of movement and overall mobility
- Reducing the pain of sports-related injuries
- Encouraging the athlete to remain active while healing
- Preventing further injury
- Enabling athletes to resume their sport
Sport Physiotherapy is comprised of three segments
- Evaluation:Sports Physiotherapy requires a high degree of skill and a number of assessment tools to determine the level of injury, diagnose the injury and evaluate post-injury improvement.
- Treatment and Rehabilitation: The process of treating and rehabilitating an injury include the use of certain protocols. The treatment program will include physical training as well as the use of functional activities and rehabilitation techniques. Additional types of therapeutic intervention may be added, which can include ESWT or dry needling. The entire program is designed to treat the injury, restore the optimal level of function and ultimately enhance the athlete’s performance.
- Prevention:The practice of Sports Physiotherapy involves the use of specially designed therapeutic measures to help the athlete prevent injuries or continue their activity with minimal disruption from an existing injury. This area of treatment includes pre-participation training, screening, equipment recommendations to prevent associated injuries and improvement in the client’s physical endurance.