Physiotherapy and Sport

The demands of professional sport are ever-increasing and injuries can be an inevitable reality for most sports players. Physiotherapy can be used as a healing process as well as a preventive measure and a means of conditioning. The range of sports injuries aided by physiotherapy is vast but is primarily focused on treatment of muscular pain, strains and the rehabilitation process following fractures and breaks in the bones or severe muscle or ligament tears.

Muscular Pain: usually aches and pains can be eased with intensive massage therapy which will reduce tension around the affected muscles, reduce stiffness and increase blood flow to warm the muscles. Most professional sports players have massages frequently; this helps to reduce tension as well as keeping the muscles in optimum condition; this will reduce the possibility of injury in the future.

Strains: strains can be painful but usually wear off in a short period of time. If the strain is more serious and limits or prohibits muscle movement, physiotherapy may be necessary but should be carried out after a period of 72 hours; this gives time for the injury to subside slightly. After this, the physiotherapist may massage the area gently and use specific exercises to encourage blood flow and muscle movement.

Muscle Tears: a muscle tear can put an athlete out of action for a long period of time. During the healing process physiotherapy can help to manage pain and increase strength and flexibility in the affected area by means of gradual exercise and stretching. Massage and electrotherapy will generally be effective in facilitating the healing process.

Fractures and Breaks: following a fracture or a break the area will need to heal. Once the healing process is underway, physiotherapy may be used to build up muscle strength and restore nerve activity. Exercises and stretches will gradually help to restore the affected area to normal but this process may take a long time particularly if the break was complex and affected a major bone such as the femur. Physiotherapists will gradually increase the amount of physical exercise the patient does which will build up strength and flexibility and increase the range of movement.

Repetitive Strain Injuries: conditions such as tennis elbow may require physiotherapy; this treatment will aim to control and reduce pain and decrease the amount of swollen tissue surrounding the elbow joint. Further treatment may also include specific exercises and pain management techniques.

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