What is Sports Physiotherapy?

Sports Physiotherapy is a specialized branch of physiotherapy which deals with injuries and issues related to sportsmen as sports injuries do differ from everyday injuries because athletes normally require high-level performance and demands from their body which causes lots of stress on different muscles, joints, and bones. It also provides information to athletes about some injury and its recovery if they are suffering from one and also how to prevent themselves from having any injury.

Sports Physiotherapy is all centralized around sports physiotherapist. The therapist is the one who has completed their diploma in sports physiotherapy and has experience in the care of athletes of all levels. Sports physiotherapists are involved at all levels in prevention and management of the injury and they act within codes of professional and ethical practice. Sports physiotherapy includes training of any player in order to provide better performance and relief. Many basics techniques have now been developed to provide relief to the athletes and provide a faster improvement to them these include electrotherapy, joint mobilization etc.

What is Sports Physiotherapy?

Treatments in Sports Physiotherapy: -

  1. Ice Pack Application: -

    Ice pack application is the first line of treatment in sports injury that helps to reduce the swelling and pain. Sports Physiotherapists will wrap a towel around the injured area with ice for about twenty minutes.

  2. Hot Pack Application: -

    Application of hot pack is another effective treatment in sports physiotherapy. A physiotherapist may use hot packs if there is bleeding or absence of swelling. It is applied for twenty minutes and helps to relieve joint pain and muscle stiffness. Plus it also hastens to heel by increasing vascularity at the given area.

  3. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator: -

    Also known as TENS is a small battery-operated device that directs a few signals of current to stimulate the skin over the injured area giving a tingling sensation and it is helpful for temporary relief of pain.

  4. Ultrasound: -

    The ultrasound wand is placed over the skin where ultrasound jelly is applied. The sound waves pass through the skin causing vibrations in the local tissue. This causes deep heating and thus helps by increasing tissue relaxation, local blood flow, and scar tissue breakdown.

    Ultrasound treatment in sports physiotherapy is done in conditions like tendinitis, bursitis, swelling or muscle spasm.

  5. Massage: -

    Massage is also known as hands-on therapy and is useful in soft tissue mobilization. The sports physiotherapist generally massages the injured area by applying a varied amount of pressure as required so as to relax the ligaments and muscles and decrease swelling, tissue adhesions or pain.

  6. Therapeutic Exercises: -

    It is one of the most effective treatment modality in sports physiotherapy to aid early recovery from injury. This includes: -

    • Stretching- Muscles become tight during the period of inactivity. Stretching exercises can help in loosening them. It can be done manually or by trained sports physiotherapists to avoid further enhancement of the injury.
    • The Range Of Motion Exercises (ROM): - It includes stretching of the arms, legs and spine. Thus by doing them, you tend to reduce muscle stiffness.
    • Strengthening Exercises: - Weight lifting and muscle training exercise can help keep your muscles strong even during the phase of inactivity.
    • Gait Training: - In cases of severe injury, gait training is done by using crutches or walker to avoid stress on the injured limb. A proper device suitable to your body type is setup by sports physiotherapist and training is begun.
    • Other techniques include physiotherapy mobilization instrument traction and distraction techniques and joint manipulators etc.

    These sports physiotherapy exercises include the following effects: -

    • Mobilization of joint.
    • Improved muscle strength and joint stability
    • Improved functional mobility and balance
    • Enhanced performance.
    • Aid in early recovery.
  7. Electro-muscular Stimulator: -

    The Electro-muscular stimulator can also be used to generate weak electrical impulses in muscles to cause strong contractions. This sports physiotherapy treatment modality helps in controlling the specific muscle that is involved and can be controlled by placements of electrodes and hence it evokes a response in affected muscle that might be very difficult to evoke otherwise by exercising.

    It is usually used post-surgically and is helpful in evoking small muscles of spine hence providing stability to the person. Treatment usually lasts for fifteen to twenty minutes.

  8. Low-level Laser Therapy: -

    Low level laser in sports physiotherapy refers to the application of red or near infrared light i.e. 600-1000nm to tissues to assist in the healing of injuries and to reduce pain. It helps by the production of ATP hence cause natural healing process to increase.

    It is used in soft tissue injury, chronic pain, post-operative pain, joint dysfunction.

  9. Interferential Current: -

    It is done by sending electrical impulses from electrodes in the tissues in area of pain. It changes the firing of nerve and their conduction of pain signals and also improves vascularity and healing and reduces swelling.

  10. Patient Education and Counseling: -

    It includes informing the patient about all the exercise and the use of prosthetics if any and providing guidance so as to boost up the moral of the sportsmen.

Benefits of Sports Physiotherapy: -

Physiotherapy in sports benefits people in various ways like: -

  1. Benefits of Sports Physiotherapy in Reducing Pain: -

    Partnering with an experienced sports physiotherapist can reduce athlete's pain faster, as they provide them with specialized treatment like electrotherapy, massage, and joint movement exercise.

  2. Sports Physiotherapy is Beneficial in Managing Scar Tissue Formation: -

    As a person's body heals from a state of injury it forms scar tissue. Improper formation of this scar tissue or location can hinder the range of motion and in severe cases may affect an athlete's performance. Sports physiotherapy right after injury can help manage the scar tissue formation and lead to a healthy and a proper healing.

  3. Speeding Healing Time: -

    Sports physiotherapy is beneficial in improving the healing time by providing targeted exercises to improve range of motion, provide strength to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints that have been affected by injury.

  4. Prevention of Future Injuries: -

    Sports physiotherapy makes your body ready to adapt to your particular sports. A sports physiotherapist can tell you when you are ready to participate in an event because going too soon may make you more prone to injuries. These therapies tend to strengthen the muscle to bear more of stress and load in some sports.

Also Read:

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: July 10, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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