When should I see a Sports Physiotherapist?

Posted: Jan 20 2023

Sports Physiotherapy is often considered to be only for elite professional athletes. The truth is that these specially trained physiotherapists can help active people of all ages and fitness-levels return to doing what they love, especially after a sports injury.

Ned Pontifex, of sportsmed Blackwood and West Adelaide Football Club, says an experienced Sports Physiotherapist will tailor a physiotherapy management plan to your specific needs, with a focus on minimising the risk of re-aggravation or further injury.

"Whether it be running, football, netball, golf or walking, exercise is vital to our physical and mental health,” Ned explains.

"Both competitive and social physical activity can help reduce the risk of chronic health conditions, while increasing our social fulfilment.

However, injuries can occur regardless of your fitness level or activity.

This may be caused by something as straight forward as an acute muscle strain, joint sprain, or a slight change to your exercise load. Or it may be something more complex, such as a chronic issue that has developed over time.

By working with a Sports Physiotherapist, the aim is to correct the underlying issue, restore normal movement and strengthen the injured area to become more robust, so you can safely return to the activities you enjoy most.”

What can I expect when seeing a Sports Physio?

1. Diagnosis

A good Sports Physiotherapist will help diagnose the injury or pain source, and determine what factors likely triggered the injury within the context of the sport or activity. Common causes of injury include tight or weak muscles, poor joint control, or too much or too little loading.

Each of these factors should be considered and addressed in your rehabilitation, and your Sports Physiotherapist will work with you to understand your individual situation and plan of action.

2. Support with a staged return to sport or exercise

A team-based approach is recommended for a staged return to sport, including communication with key stakeholders such as coaches and trainers to help manage workloads, expectations, and timeframes. Similarly, in the case of individual sports or leisure activities, both you and your Physio will team up to collectively design a management plan.

The ultimate goal is to return to your desired activities safely and efficiently, while enhancing your physical conditioning on the other side of recovery. A Sports Physiotherapist will help you incorporate the right type of exercise into your routine, ensuring it is completed correctly to optimise future performance.

Returning to exercise doesn’t need to be complex, and definitely shouldn’t be overwhelming. They can be as simple as walking to the letterbox or hanging out the washing. Enlisting the help of Sports Physiotherapist, who has the additional training and experience to assist you in safely setting and reaching achievable goals, will help you to maximise your movement while reducing recovery time.

3. Exercise prescription and rehabilitation program

The concept of goal-oriented exercise prescription enables you to build up the intensity, volume, and frequency in a safe and controlled way, and armed with the latest research, a Sports Physiotherapist will help you create an evidence-based rehab program tailored to your specific needs.

These principles can be applied to help you run faster, jump higher, or perform better in a sporting environment, but can equally be used to help you walk up a hill, tend to the garden, or chase after your grandchildren.

Health Partners members receive up to 100% back on their physio visit with a participating provider on eligible extras cover.

Find your nearest Health Partners Participating Physio Provider

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Posted: Jan 20 2023


The information contained here is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal medical situation. The information is not a substitute for independent professional medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or used for therapeutic purposes. Should you require specific medical information, please seek advice from your healthcare practitioner. Health Partners does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them.

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