Sports physiotherapy focuses on helping active people recover from injury, improve their physical performance, and build resistance to future injuries.
You don’t have to be a high level athlete to benefit from treatment from a sports physio. Sports physio’s treat a wide range of people who engage in physical activity whether they do it purely as recreation or in a competitive or professional environment.
The demands of physical activity often lead to injury by placing increased stress on our muscles, tendons, and joints. For many people, the primary factor predisposing them to injury is that they were never taught how to move efficiently. This is something that is automatically expected of athletes, but it is not a natural talent that we are born with, and it must be developed like any other skill. Without effective training on proper mechanics, individuals may move in any number of inefficient ways in everyday life such as when carrying groceries or moving furniture, as well as on the playing field.
As physiotherapists, we call these inefficient movements “compensations” because they are not the ideal patterns that should be used. What’s more, they actually prevent us from performing to our full potential, and they are to blame for a number of otherwise preventable injuries. Many times these compensations are subtle, and people may not even realise they have them. In fact, even many elite athletes use compensations which limit their ability to progress, and they often plateau in their given sports, or succumb to injury.
A sports physio performs a thorough functional assessment to determine the underlying cause leading to injury or a plateau in performance. They then use a combination of hands-on techniques and an appropriate exercise protocol to re-train movement patterns and help the individual optimise their technique without relying on compensations. This foundation of proper techniques allow active individuals to improve their skill level and diminish the likelihood of future injuries.