What Is Sports Injury Rehabilitation?
Following a sporting injury (or some other similar injury not sustained in the sporting pursuit; possibly the working or home environment), it is important to ensure complete rehabilitation and a return to physical health prior to returning to sport or working environment and. Treatment undertaken will depend on the diagnosis, severity of injury and specialist orders when indicated. There are various methods of treating injuries; at Active Physiotherapy, treatment is based on a thorough assessment by one of the qualified physiotherapists.
Active Physiotherapy will design a specially tailored rehabilitation to bring you back to optimum health.
Signs of Sporting Injuries
If you are experiencing discomfort in your joints, bones, or muscles, you may well be suffering a sporting type injury. These can include the following injury types:
- Sprains are the most common injury, and occur when a ligament is, torn or stretched.
- Strains (or pulling a muscle) occur when the muscle tissue is stretched beyond its natural limit, resulting in a tear.
- Back pain resulting in soreness or stiffness in the lower back, neck, can happen if you do not warm up properly prior to exercise.
- Knee pain is common. When ligaments or cartilage gets damaged, the knee can swell, become sore, and even feel as if the joint is locking. If the anterior cruciate ligament is torn, you will suffer restricted movement.
- Discomfort in the shins (shin splints), common in runners, happens when there is inflammation around the tibia or shinbone.
- Stress fracture is a microscopic crack in the bone, often occurring due to repetitive, high-impact exercise such as long distance running.
- Hamstring injuries, common in athletes, are tears in the large muscles at the back of the thigh or in tendons. The muscle seizes up, often with signs of swelling and bruising.
- Heel pain occurs when the tissue on the sole of the foot (plantar fasciitis or insertion into the back of the heal (Achilles tendinitis) is inflamed. This is common in runners and people with pronated feet. The result is a sharp pain when weight is placed on the heel.
- Shoulder pain is common in athletes or workmen who do repetitive movement, such as tennis, squash players and carpenters. Tendons can become torn or inflamed, which causes pain and altered function.
- Inflamed tendons such as with tendonitis or bursitis result in the associated joints and tendons becoming painful. Two examples are tennis elbow and golfers elbow that affect the function of the elbow joint.
- Bone injuries can include stress fractures (cracking or breaking the bone) as a result of repeated exercise such as long distance running, or falling. Usually this will require an orthopaedic opinion that Active Physiotherapy can facilitate due to its close working relationship with a number of Melbourne’s excellent orthopaedic specialists.
Treatment and Rehabilitation for Sporting Injuries
Depending on the severity of the sporting injury in question, there are various methods of treatment, some of which involve physiotherapy and working with your specialist if you have one, while others use physiotherapy alone to return to fitness.
- Pain management utilising electrotherapeutic modalities such as TENS and Interferential
- Compression, which uses a bandage or tubigrip to reduce swelling.
- Giving the affected area extra support where needed, such as using a stabilising athletic support bandage.
- Specific exercises developed by your Active Physiotherapy physiotherapist to target your area of injury.
- Ultrasound using high frequency sound waves to improve blood flow, break up adhesions and promote healing
- Manual therapy, which is the use of gentle joint mobilisation techniques to improve joint movement, reduces pain and improves function.
- Massage of the injured area of the body.
- Hydrotherapy (water therapy) combining the use of exercise in water to alleviate symptoms, relax muscles, and aid in recovery.
- TENS, which uses a small battery-operated device to administer an electric current on the affected area and reduce symptoms of pain.
- Dry Needling, which uses fine needles on trigger points (tight and sensitive areas) to relieve pain and help to restore movement.
Prevention of Sporting Injuries
Sports injuries are the most common form of trauma to the body, and many can be avoided by taking appropriate steps to ensure you are exercising safely. At Active Physiotherapy, we recommend the following:
- Warm up and stretch properly before exercising and warm down post workout, as muscle stiffness is directly related to muscle injury risk.
- Ensure that you do not over-train, as this puts pressure on muscles, joints, and bones if they are fatigued, thereby increasing risk of damage.
- Ensure proper recovery time between training so your muscles can rest.
- Acknowledge weaknesses if you have had an injury previously, and use appropriate support on the affected areas during exercise in conjunction with appropriate rehabilitation.
- Increase consumption of carbohydrates during heavy training periods.
- Do not continue training if you experience pain during your session.
- Stay hydrated and ensure a good, nutritious diet.
- Use the correct footwear for your sport.
- Treat minor injuries appropriately to prevent them from becoming complications.
- Have regular sports remedial massages with the Active Physiotherapy remedial masseur.