As 2021 gets underway, thousands of us have undoubtedly made New Year’s resolutions to up their exercise quotient and get fitter. Unfortunately, in our eagerness to do so, we may overexert themselves and cause injuries. Luckily, there are physiotherapists to help put us back together again, unlike poor Humpty Dumpty in the famous nursery rhyme.

Physiotherapists are experts at evaluating, restoring and maintaining physical function and mobility. They also can assist individuals in achieving optimal performance. Since sports are all about motion and performance, sports physiotherapists are the ideal resource for athletes to draw upon, whether they are injured or simply seeking to improve their performance.

Think about the last time you watched your favourite sports team play. Undoubtedly, at some point, play was stopped because a player had sustained a possible injury. Out onto the field of play comes the trainer, who is often a trained physiotherapist, to evaluate the injury and help determine whether the player can continue the game without doing irreparable damage.

Why is Sports Physiotherapy Essential for Athletes?

The physiotherapist’s goal is to speed up healing and to help the athlete return to action as quickly as possible with the proper combination of therapy and exercises.

Of course, it’s not only professional athletes who can benefit from sports physiotherapists. We amateurs get injured regularly and are eager to find our way back into action and prevent the injury from recurring. Physiotherapists not only consider our injuries; they look at the underlying causes so that their treatments benefit the entire body.

Here are some of the ways sports physiotherapy can assist athlete, whether professional or amateur:

    • Improving joint and muscle flexibility. Flexibility is a key to optimal performance. Physiotherapists can provide exercises that will improve flexibility to help you meet your sports goals, whether you’re working toward a tournament or simply trying to improve your fitness.
    • Enhancing strength. Sports physiotherapy improves your ability to deal with physical stress, something that is an integral part of many high-contact sports. The stronger your body, the less susceptible it is to injury.
    • Preventing injury. Participants in different sports are susceptible to different injuries. A sports physiotherapist can suggest an exercise regimen designed to strengthen your body accordingly. They will also advise you about proper warmups and sensibly increasing your physical workload.
    • Assisting with relaxation. After intense exercise, it may be hard for you to relax and wind down. A physiotherapist can assist you with stretching and healing, and the clinic may also offer massage therapy to help your sore muscles. Soon, you’ll have the energy to carry on.
    • Rehabilitating injury. Everyone gets injured once in a while, no matter how careful they are. Sports phyisotherapists evaluate your injury and determine a course of treatment (exercises, acupuncture, etc.) that will help you heal as quickly as possible and strengthen the appropriate areas to help prevent the injury from recurring.
    • Managing pain. Physiotherapists can offer you a number of exercises and techniques designed to reduce pain and discomfort. They also help athletes handle chronic conditions that can interfere with workouts.

What to Expect at a Physiotherapy Session

If you’ve never been to see a physiotherapist, there is a standard approach to your injury or concern that you can expect.

Prior to suggesting any treatment, your physiotherapist will want to assess your condition. You’ll need to provide information about your medical history, your lifestyle, your medications and the sports in which you participate. If you have X-rays or other test information, they will want to see it. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions, too.

Once the physiotherapist has the necessary information, they will assess your injury. The assessment may include evaluation of your movement, your posture and your ligament stability.

Next, the physiotherapist will design a treatment plan to help you heal faster, achieve your performance goals or prevent injury. They will run through the exercises with you to ensure you know how to do them correctly.

You’ll be sent home to follow their plan, with regular visits to allow them to monitor your progress. You should be pleased at the progress you see if your follow the plan.

Remember, participation in sports comes with an inherent risk, so why not do all you can to minimize it while maximizing your potential?