Using Physiotherapy to Prevent and Heal Sports Injuries 

What is physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a special treatment that uses exercise programs, massage therapy, acupuncture, compression socks, and other orthopedic methods to rehabilitate an injury, restore mobility, and increase strength. Physiotherapy does not involve medicine or surgery.

As an athlete, whether professional or recreational, you share a profound love for your sport. Getting you back on your feet is physiotherapy’s goal. Physiotherapy aims to restore movement and strength in the affected joints, bones, muscles, ligaments, or tendons quickly.

You can improve function quickly with physiotherapy because their specialized exercise programs help to restore movement in the muscular and skeletal system.

What are the risk factors for athletes?

Although injuries are common in sports, knowing the factors that make you vulnerable to injuries and avoiding them will help reduce your chances of getting injured.

  • Internal Risk Factors

Age: Your bones become less dense as you age, so older athletes are more susceptible to injury.

Biological sex: Since male athletes often engage in more gruelling sports than females, they have an increased risk of getting injured.

Body composition: Depending on body composition, tall and/or overweight people are more vulnerable to injury.

Health: A history of injuries increases the likelihood of reinjuring the affected area.

Physical fitness: Physical fitness helps you build strength and endurance. Therefore, you may increase your chances of sustaining sports injuries if you are not physically fit.

Anatomy: Abnormalities in the joints may lead to injuries.

Skill level: More skillful players will use the proper form during sports. However, a less skillful player can incur an injury when using the wrong techniques.

Psychological factors: Your mental state plays a large role in determining if you will suffer an injury.

  • External Risk Factors

Sports factors: The types of sports you play will often determine your predisposition to injury.

Protective equipment: Whether you use the correct protective gear or not will increase or decrease your risk for injury.

Environment: You must conduct sports in a safe environment void of objects that can cause harm. The climate also has a role to play here.

Playing situation: Making sudden movements while playing sports will increase the likelihood of getting injured.

  • Psychological Factors

Self-confidence: Athletes who believe in themselves can focus more and are less likely to be injured.

Fears: Fear can cause you to lose focus and coordination, and make mistakes leading to injury.

Self-efficacy: If you trust your abilities to reach a particular goal, you are more likely to achieve it without making mistakes that can cause injury.

Catastrophizing: If you think something bad will happen, it will most likely occur because your mind is on it. You will then make mistakes that lead to injury.

Emotional status: In every sport, you require a stable mental state to succeed and prevent injury.

What are the effective sports therapy models?

In case of an injury, your sports therapist offer exercise and stretching techniques to hasten your recovery and prevent further injury. Below are some of the models used in sports physiotherapy:

  • Van Mechelen Injury Prevention Model: This model has four steps. It implements methods that help the physiotherapists better understand the injury and how to fix it. In this model, the physiotherapist first establishes the severity of an injury, determines its cause, formulates a method to prevent the injury, and then determines how effective the method has been.
  • Dynamic Model of Etiology in Sports Injury: This model takes a more critical look at the risk factors of injuries to understand better how injuries occur in athletes. Since your physiotherapist is concerned with reducing your risk of harm, this model will be effective.
  • Translating Research Into Injury Prevention Practice (TRIPP) Model: This model has six steps that involve assessing the injury, noting the causes of this injury, coining preventive measures, creating a context to test that preventive measure in real situations, testing the measures, and evaluating the effectiveness of the prevention plan.
  • Team-Sport Injury Prevention Cycle: This model is an extension of the Van Mechelen Injury Prevention Model for sports teams. This prevention cycle involves evaluating the injury situation and the current preventive measures, identifying the risk factors that may impede these preventive measures, and properly implementing these prevention strategies.

Benefits and Role of Physiotherapy in Sports Injury Prevention

Advantages of Physiotherapy in Sports Injury Prevention

Physiotherapy methods aim to significantly reduce the occurrence of injuries in athletes and are, therefore, worth considering. Below are some other reasons why physiotherapy is beneficial in preventing sports injuries:

  • Prevention of injuries

Injuries in sports occur for many reasons, but one of them is a lack of strength. When your muscles and joints are not strong enough to receive the strain of your training, it will result in an injury. Physiotherapy targets the musculoskeletal system using exercise plans, thereby preventing injury.

  • Seeking proper intervention

Getting proper intervention for your health is essential to avoid further complications. Practicing physiotherapists in Ontario register under the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario Development. They are trained in the best rehabilitation methods to assist you in any case of sports injury.

  • Rehabilitation of athletes

The sports industry is fast-paced, and you must keep training to maintain your skills and acquire new ones. Still, injuries are a stumbling block that almost every athlete will face. The good news is that physiotherapy can restore function in any affected area and make you stronger.

  • Enhanced performance

With physiotherapy, you condition your body to withstand more pressure, thus improving your sports performance.

  • Development of professionalism and proper management skills

Many sports injuries occur due to poor biomechanics (incorrect sports movements). Your physiotherapist will educate you on the correct forms in your sports in order to manage and minimize the risk of injury.

The Role of Physiotherapy in Sports Injury Prevention

Physiotherapeutic treatments ensure that you gain rapid recovery from sports injuries through physiotherapy as long as you adhere strictly to the rehabilitation plan set up by your physiotherapists.

Sports physiotherapy entails programs that aim to maintain physical function in the musculoskeletal system of athletes to help prevent injuries.

Sports therapy varies from traditional physiotherapy because it aims to restore an athlete to their pre-injury level. While standard physical therapy aims at restoring movement, reducing pain, and improving the ability to perform day-to-day tasks, sports therapy takes it a step further by increasing strength in muscles and joints and enhancing your performance in your sport.

Which sports injuries are best treated with physiotherapy?

Sports physiotherapy can treat all musculoskeletal injuries. While treating these injuries with surgeries is possible, treating them through physiotherapy will reduce recovery time. Below is a list of injuries best remedied with physiotherapy:

  • Knee injuries: During sports, contact injuries such as knee injuries can be prevalent. You could rupture your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or fracture the knee joint, thus affecting your movement.
  • Achilles tendonitis and rupture: The Achilles tendon is in your heel. An overuse break to the Achilles tendon is known as Achilles tendonitis. This rupture can hinder you from engaging in recreational activities like swimming, walking, or running.
  • Sprains and strains: Overstretching or tearing in the tendon or ligament will result in a sprain or strain. While sprains are injuries in the ligament, strains are injuries in the tendon.
  • Fractures: Fractures could range from a minor crack to a full break in any body bone. These are also very common in sports due to the impact of objects or teammates. They can cause inflammation, swelling, and pain.
  • Dislocations: Dislocations usually occur at a joint, and you can often notice a deformity in the affected joint. When a bone pops out of its sockets, it is a dislocation.
  • Rotator cuff injury: Athletes whose sports require repetitive motion in the shoulders, like tennis players, are more susceptible to this injury. Tendons and muscles in the shoulder make up the rotator cuff. A tear in the rotator cuff will cause pain.

Pre- and Post-Operative Injury Rehabilitation

There are two types of rehabilitation: pre-operative and post-operative injury rehabilitation.

What is pre-operative injury rehabilitation?

Pre-operative injury rehabilitation is a physical therapy program by physiotherapists to ease pain and reduce inflammation around an injury before surgery. It includes mild exercises that strengthen your joints and improve all-around fitness.

These programs mentally prepare you for surgery and introduce you to exercises that you perform post-surgery.

What is post-operative injury rehabilitation?

Post-operative injury rehabilitation describes the methods that physiotherapists carry out to ensure a full recovery after your surgery.

These programs help to strengthen your muscles and restore function in them. It includes massage therapy, acupuncture, taping, and exercise programs.

Where to Find the Best Physiotherapy for Sports Injuries

Physiotherapy plays an active role in ensuring rapid recovery from sports injuries. For you to recover fully from any sports injury, you need rehabilitation. Physical therapy entails programs beneficial for the all-around healing and development of sports injuries.

If you want to find the best physiotherapist to help you heal from your sports injury, search online for ‘sports physiotherapy near me’ and read the online reviews from the different clinics in your neighbourhood.