What Is Sports Physiotherapy?

 In Physiotherapy

If you have heard of athletes using sports physiotherapy to treat or prevent injury, you might be wondering what it is. Physiotherapists are skilled at:

  • Evaluating and diagnosing injury
  • Creating a personalized treatment plan
  • Teaching patients methods of pain management
  • Implementing treatment plans

You might have heard of physiotherapy being used to treat and rehabilitate when it comes to car accidents or medical conditions, but what does it mean in terms of sports?

Treatment of Athletes

Sports physiotherapy differs from standard physiotherapy as the treatment is focused on the evaluation, prevention, management, and rehabilitation of injuries that are a direct result of exercise and sports. It can be used for athletes of all ages, abilities, and sports. Physiotherapists will often provide advice for safe practices in sports, positive lifestyle choices, as well as therapeutic treatment. Physiotherapists will help athletes improve performance as well as recover from injury, and guide them to better sports practices.

Goals of Treatment

One of the biggest differences between sports physio and other physio is the goals of the treatment. Athletes often get started with physiotherapists due to an injury. With the guidance of a physiotherapist, athletes will be treated and rehabilitated in order to not only help heal the injury, but also to prevent future injuries. The treatment is meant to help athletes return to their sport as soon as possible.

Your physiotherapist will work to protect the injured tissues in order to promote healing while helping you to control inflammation. Together, you will be able to improve your overall flexibility, strength, and muscle balance in order to safely return you to your sport and prevent you from reinjuring the area in the future.

The Process

The process of rehabilitation has several steps to get you or other athletes back to performance level. They go as follows:

1. Evaluation/Consultation:

To begin with, you will meet with your qualified sports physiotherapist and review your injury or concern. Through the use of several tools and evaluations, your physiotherapist will confirm the injury and help build a plan to return you back to functionality.

2. Treatment:

Once you have a plan in place, you will then begin treatment. Most often treatment is comprised of several appointments a week for several weeks. The treatment is individualized to the patient’s needs and can include several different methods, including:

    • Strength training
    • Ultrasound
    • Stretching
    • Massage
    • Taping
    • Body work
    • Patient education
    • Exercise prescription

3. Performance:

When your injury has been properly addressed and treated, then your physiotherapist can focus on performance enhancement. The goal of this treatment is not simply to make you a better athlete, but it is to focus on the weaker or imbalanced areas on your body so that you can build up the weaker areas. This way, you will be able to prevent injuries in the future by honing in on where they are most likely to happen. Your treatment plan will be individually designed to focus on your sport, position, and any recommendations that you might need to follow to prevent future concerns.

Why See a Sports Therapist?

While you might think that all physiotherapists do the same types of treatment, a sports physiotherapist knows the details of sports and what is required to treat athletes specifically. Sports therapists know how to focus on the musculoskeletal rehabilitation that athletes need. They know that athletes want to return to their sport as quickly as possible and know what it takes to make that possible. If you are an athlete, always make sure that you see a sports physiotherapist for any treatment.

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