Sports injuries are inevitable! Players hate them since longer spells of absence can have a damaging effect on their stamina and performance. Most importantly some valuable chances to excel and move to the next levels of the game are lost. Physiotherapy is by far the fastest way to put any sports person back in action. Its therapeutic value has been acknowledged as an independent science to restore physical health. In addition, it is an unparalleled preventive technique as well. That’s how physiotherapists are now an integral part of sports training entourage.
The expertise and experience of a physiotherapist comes into play when identifying the reasons of an injury, chalking out the treatment and rehabilitation plan.
The Initial Evaluation
The first meeting with sports physiotherapist is an extensive one wherein the physiotherapist seeks answers to a lot of detailed questions to ascertain the reasons of an injury. Basis these answers and other general details, the doctor formulates a complete plan to put an injured player on the road to treatment and recovery.
Treatment and Rehabilitation
The treatment options depend on the problem identified. There are multiple physiotherapy treatments available like cold or heat therapy, taping, soft tissue mobilization, Tens, ultrasound or total immobilization with wheelchair or crutches etc. The goal of all these treatments is to control the early inflammatory phase, protect the injured tissues from further injury, control pain & swelling and to trigger the healing process. The physiotherapist will use one of these or combination of these techniques depending on the nature of injury.
Once there is no pain, early mobilization exercises like range of motion, massage, strengthening exercises etc are taken up to rehabilitate. The rehabilitation program achieves normal joint movements, restores strength and normal muscle functions.
Once the injury has been healed, the focus of a physiotherapist shifts towards educating and equipping the player to prevent future injuries. The activity plan is now sport specific. Here are a few strategies the physiotherapist will employ:
• Strengthening the core – Core comprises of the abdomen, obliques and lower back muscles. All these together form the power house of the body and provide force for all the complex movements.
• Improve flexibility with stretching exercises
• Educate the importance of proper warm up
• Correct the posture, the technique required and how and when to apply force
• Suggest the right footwear and sports gear, protective tapping and bracing
• Teach self management that is identify the symptoms and reasons injury and best practices to avoid injury
Physiotherapy is not only about physical well being. It has a holistic approach where in the overall fitness levels of mind and body are improved. A well trained physiotherapist works in tandem with the player to draw out the best in terms of endurance and performance and prevent future injuries.