Updated: Jul 13, 2021
Physiotherapy management of sports injuries
Physiotherapists are university trained health professionals who provide diagnosis and management for sports injuries in the acute, subacute and chronic phases.
A timely and accurate diagnosis is essential to ensure that the injury is approached from a best practice perspective to achieve maximum results in both the short and long terms.
Physiotherapists work closely with the patient’s General Practitioner when they feel that interventions such as medication, or diagnostic imaging like x-rays, ultrasound, MRIs or onward referrals to a specialist doctor are needed.
After the assessment and initial treatment phase, the physiotherapist will progress the treatment according to the patient’s response. In consultation with the injured athlete, a treatment pathway is developed to maximise recovery and minimise the chance of recurrence.
Various treatments are utilised to treat sports injuries, depending upon the nature, severity and duration of the condition.
In the acute phase ice, strapping, splinting, elevation and rest are commonly used to control swelling and pain. Once the injury starts to settle the physiotherapist will progress the patient along the treatment pathway and utilise a variety of options which may include soft tissue stretches, joint mobilisation, strengthening and conditioning and proprioceptive retraining.
There are then various options that can be tailored to be sports specific such as strength and conditioning rehabilitation programmes and clinical Pilates to achieve optimum long term results.
Sports injuries vary enormously in terms of which structures involved, the severity of the injury and the long term prognosis.
The commonly injured structures in sport include:
Ligaments: These are integral to joint function and essentially connect bone to bone. Commonly injured ligaments include the anterior cruciate in the knee and the lateral ligament in the ankle.
Tendons: Connect muscle to bone with the Achilles (ankle) and Supraspinatus (shoulder) commonly affected.
Bony injuries: Fractures of varying severity can occur due to either a large force or over use as in the case of stress fractures. Bone bruising can also occur with high impact forces.
Muscles: Common injuries include tears eg hamstrings or contusions (corks) such as in the quadriceps.
All sports injuries benefit enormously from an accurate diagnosis which enables a treatment pathway to be implemented in a timely fashion to ensure the best possible outcome which minimises time off sport and the chance of recurrence.
Forster Tuncurry Physiotherapy and Allied Health and Mid Coast Rehabilitation
Rodney Tyter (Director)
T: 026554 5225
Cape Hawke Specialist Centre
Suite 6, 10 - 12 South St, Forster NSW 2428