Sport is a vital part of the Australian lifestyle—it promotes good health, stress relief, and is fun. Sometimes injuries may occur through sport, but fortunately most injuries can be effectively treated by your physiotherapist. Physiotherapy treatment will enable you to return to your sporting activity quicker than just ‘rest and see what happens’. Your physiotherapist can also provide advice to prevent sporting injuries.
- Ligament sprains
- Joint injuries
- Over-use injuries
What goes wrong
Most sporting injuries are a result of a direct blow (bruise or contusion) or an indirect force like a twist (sprains, strains, or tears). Some injuries are due to over-use stresses (tendonitis or stress fractures).
How you can minimise injury
- Correct warm up and cool down procedures
- Protective strapping or bracing
- Correct footwear and sporting equipment
- Specific conditioning for your particular sport
- Good aerobic fitness
- Good muscle control and reactions
Getting back into action
Before you can safely return to your sport, it is essential to regain strength, mobility, balance, and coordination. Your physiotherapist will assess these areas and show you how to improve them.
How physiotherapy can help
Physiotherapists are highly qualified and trained in the assessment and treatment of sports injuries. As they have comprehensive knowledge of biomechanics, tissue injury, and healing, many physiotherapists are appointed to sports teams to monitor the rehabilitation of injured players and assist with preventing injuries.
What to do after an injury
As soon as possible, and for 72 hours after an injury, use the RICE method: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
- Rest, take it easy, and only move within your limit of pain
- Ice as soon as possible, and for 20 minutes every two hours, apply ice or a frozen gel pack wrapped in a damp towel to control bleeding and pain, and reduce secondary tissue damage
- Compression bandage the knee firmly and include 5cm above and below the joint to help control swelling
- Elevate your leg higher than the level of your heart to reduce swelling.
For the first 48 hours, avoid any of the HARM factors: heat, alcohol, running, and massage.
Recovery can start very early after an injury. Physiotherapy rehabilitation techniques will help reduce the time that your injury is painful and movement is restricted, so that you safely return to sport. Rehabilitation also facilitates good quality repair and the return of normal muscle and nerve function.