At one end of the spectrum, treatment of sports injuries is in many ways no different from treatment of injuries acquired by any other means and at the other end it can be the most challenging and stressful environment to work in.
Let me expand; the tissues in your body do not “know” how they have been injured, so it does not matter in many ways whether you sustained an injury to your calf muscle running for the bus or running the Olympic 100 metres final. The underlying healing process of your body does not alter depending on the cause of the injury. What does change is the level of function that the individual expects to achieve after their recovery and what is also different is the pre-injury condition of the body tissues.
In the elite sportsperson the body tissues will (hopefully) be in excellent condition which should mean that they will heal at the fastest possible rate. However the elite sportsperson usually wishes to return to elite level sport and will be placing much larger stresses and strains on their tissues so need to ensure that they are fully rehabilitated before returning to their chosen sport.
Our approach at City Physio is to make a thorough assessment of your injury against the background of the level of sport you participate in and wish to return to. We would no more advise a recreational athlete to spend hours on rehabilitation exercises each day than we would advise an elite athlete to have a quick stretch and get back to training. We tailor our approach to the individual but apply the same rigorous assessment process to every patient to make sure we make the right diagnosis and give the right treatment and guidance.
The majority of the sports injuries we see in the clinic are to people who participate in sport for enjoyment rather than for their livelihood but we understand that sport is an important part of life and work hard with our patients to make sure they can achieve their sporting goals and ambitions. Whether the peak of your sporting ambition is to get round the Great South Run once a year or to represent your country on the international stage you can be sure of our best efforts at all times.
Sports Injuries in the Clinic
When you make an appointment with us you will probably find that you initially spend longer with us than you were expecting. We want to take the time to get a thorough understanding of the sporting activities you undertake, any planned events which you may be hoping to participate in, your training plans and goals within your chosen sport. We will then take a thorough history of your injury; it is important for us to understand how the injury occurred – was it during competition, on a training run, whilst cross training to assist your chosen sport or was the mechanism of injury totally unconnected to your sport but is impacting on your ability to take part.
Once we have taken a thorough history we will then make a detailed examination of the injured area to determine what has happened and plan the best way to help. If your injury is running related it is often useful to be able to look at your running shoes to determine if they are suitable for you or if any uneven wear is visible which may suggest a mechanical problem with your running style.
On occasion and in discussion with you, we may involve other professionals in your assessment and treatment such as a podiatrist or make a suggestion for referral to an orthopaedic specialist if apropriate.
Our aim as far as possible is to keep you training (unless to do so will make your injury worse or significantly delay your recovery). We may suggest modifying your training for a period or advise other activities which are less stressful on the injured area. Our focus is to suggest activities you can do rather than to make a long list of activities that you can’t do.
As soon as possible we will guide you through a staged return to training with appropriate advice and support. Where possible we will also advise on ways to try and avoid suffering the same injury again in the future (we actually want not to see our patients as far as possible!). We like to think that rehabilitation of your injury can become pre – habilitation to keep you in better shape in the future.
Sports Injuries in the Competitive Arena
At elite level this can be one of the most challenging environments to work in. Think for a moment of the Premier League physiotherapists who run onto the pitch watched by 50,000 fans in the stands and 10 million other experts in their armchairs at home and you can begin to understand how many more issues are involved. In fact dealing with the injury itself is often the simplest thing to manage!
Imagine that you are dealing with an injured player at an Olympic Games – they are injured and want desperately to compete. The coach wants to know if they are going to be fit and if not should he bring a replacement player in, the team manager then adds to the mix by saying that the funding for the sport for the next four year Olympic cycle depends on winning a medal at these games and that the injured player is the best hope of this. You can start to see how the cosy environment of the clinic can seem a welcoming place!
Dominic has vast experience of being in these environments, having represented Great Britain as a Physiotherapist at over 30 international events in 18 different countries. He is able to bring this experience to the clinic environment as well as continuing to support teams at the highest level. His most recent trip was in October 2010 to the Gymnastics World Championships in Rotterdam where he had in fact been asked to work as host nation Physiotherapist by the Dutch Gymnastics Federation. A recreational rather than a serious athlete, cycling is his sport of choice (he confesses to having more interest in the cake stop than the cycling itself), he nevertheless has an appreciation of how much enjoyment sport brings to life and how important a part it plays in people’s lives.
Rachel is rather more competitive (able to bring an element of competition to almost any activity) and is a keen footballer, playing for a couple of different women’s teams in the local area and has a background in athletics. She brings an understanding of the desire to compete to her work and approach to treatment of sports injuries.
Should you be suffering with any of these sports injuries, City Physio can help. Sports injuries are our speciality, so please feel free to get in touch to book a consultation to review you particular injury and plan the most appropriate course of treatment for you.