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Article by Zoe Russell

Who is a Sports Physiotherapist?

Sports Physiotherapy is the specialised branch of physiotherapy which deals with injuries and issues related to spokespeople. Practitioners with additional formal training within Australia are Sports & Exercise Physiotherapists.

What is Sports Physiotherapy?

sports physiotherapist brisbane

Sports injuries do differ from common everyday injuries. Athletes usually require high-level performance and demand placed upon their body, which stresses their muscles, joints and bones to the limit.  Sports physiotherapists help athletes recover from sporting injuries and provide education and resources to prevent problems.

Each sports physiotherapist usually has sport-specific knowledge that addresses acute, chronic and overuse injuries. Their services are generally available to sportsmen and women of all ages engaged in sports at any level of competition.

Members of Sports Physiotherapy Australia (SPA) have experience and knowledge of the latest evidence-based practice, professional assessment and diagnosis of sports injuries, and effective hands-on management techniques and exercise protocols to assist recovery and prevent future damage. SPA members have access to the most recent advances in sports physiotherapy. You'll be pleased to know that most PhysioWorks physiotherapists and massage therapists have a particular interest in sports injury management.

More info:

Sports Physiotherapy

Sports-Related Injuries

What is Physiotherapy Treatment?

Physiotherapists help people affected by illness, injury or disability through exercise, manual joint therapy, soft tissue techniques, education and advice.  Physiotherapists maintain physical health, allow patients to manage pain and prevent disease for people of all ages. Physiotherapists help encourage pain relief, injury recovery, enabling people to stay playing a sport, working or performing daily living activities while assisting them to remain functionally independent.

There is a multitude of different physiotherapy treatment approaches.

Acute & Sub-Acute Injury Management

physiotherapy treatment

Hands-On Physiotherapy Techniques

Your physiotherapist's training includes hands-on physiotherapy techniques such as:

Your physiotherapist has skilled training. Physiotherapy techniques have expanded over the past few decades. They have researched, upskilled and educated themselves in a spectrum of allied health skills. These skills include techniques shared with other healthcare practitioners. Professions include exercise physiologists, remedial massage therapists, osteopaths, acupuncturists, kinesiologists, chiropractors and occupational therapists, to name a few.

Physiotherapy Taping

Your physiotherapist is a highly skilled professional who utilises strapping and taping techniques to prevent and assist injuries or pain relief and function.

Alternatively, your physiotherapist may recommend a supportive brace.

Acupuncture and Dry Needling

Many physiotherapists have acquired additional training in acupuncture and dry needling to assist pain relief and muscle function.

Physiotherapy Exercises

Physiotherapists have been trained in the use of exercise therapy to strengthen your muscles and improve your function. Physiotherapy exercises use evidence-based protocols where possible as an effective way that you can solve or prevent pain and injury. Your physiotherapist is highly skilled in prescribing the "best exercises" for you and the most appropriate "exercise dose" for you, depending on your rehabilitation status. Your physiotherapist will incorporate essential pilates, yoga and exercise physiology components to provide you with the best result. They may even use Real-Time Ultrasound Physiotherapy so that you can watch your muscles contract on a screen as you correctly retrain them.

Biomechanical Analysis

Biomechanical assessment, observation and diagnostic skills are paramount to the best treatment. Your physiotherapist is a highly skilled health professional. They possess superb diagnostic skills to detect and ultimately avoid musculoskeletal and sports injuries. Poor technique or posture is one of the most common sources of a repeat injury.

Hydrotherapy

Aquatic water exercises are an effective method to provide low bodyweight exercises.

Sports Physiotherapy

Sports physio requires an extra level of knowledge and physiotherapy to assist injury recovery, prevent injury and improve performance. For the best advice, consult a Sports & Exercise Physiotherapist.

Vestibular Physiotherapy

Women's Health

Women's Health Physiotherapy is a particular interest group of therapies.

Workplace Physiotherapy

Not only can your physiotherapist assist you in sport, but they can also help you at work. Ergonomics looks at the best postures and workstations set up for your body at work or home. Whether it be lifting technique improvement, education programs or workstation setups, your physiotherapist can help you.

Electrotherapy

Plus Much More

Your physiotherapist is a highly skilled body mechanic. A physiotherapist has particular interests in certain injuries or specific conditions. For advice regarding your problem, please get in touch with your PhysioWorks team.

How is Kinesiology Tape Different from Conventional Strapping Tape?

kinesiology tape

Rigid strapping firmly wraps around your injured structures. Most standard strapping tapes are non-elastic. They aim to provide rigid support and restrict movement. These rigid strapping tapes can only be worn for short periods, after which you must remove them to restore your circulation and mobility.

Alternatively, kinesiology tape has unique elastic properties that allow it to provide active support, protect muscles or joints, and allow a safe and functional range of motion.

Rather than being entirely wrapped around injured joints or muscle groups, kinesiology tape is applied directly over or around the periphery of troublesome areas. This non-restrictive characteristic of kinesiology taping allows most applications to continue for several days. This period reinforces therapeutic benefits to accumulate 24-hours a day for the entire time they’re worn.

You can wear kinesiology tape during intense exercise, showering or swimming. It quickly dries after a quick pat with a towel.

More info: Strapping & Supportive Taping

Kinesiology Tape

Kinesiology tape has a comprehensive array of therapeutic benefits. Because kinesiology taping can usually be left on for several days or up to a week, these therapeutic benefits are available to the injured area 24 hours a day, significantly accelerating the healing process from trauma, injuries and inflammatory conditions.

Benefits of Kinesiology Taping

Pain Relief via Structural Support for Weak or Injured Body Parts

Kinesiology tape is a flexible elastic tape that moves with your body. The supple elasticity provides supports to your body parts without the tape slipping.

By supporting your body part, kinesiology tape can provide you with pain relief and muscular support to help control body parts affected by muscle inhibition.

Muscle Support

Kinesiology tape potentially assists your muscle strength via physical assistance. It also provides tactile feedback through the skin, e.g. proprioception boost. This phenomenon may help both the non-disabled athlete to enhance their performance and hypotonic, e.g. children with low muscle tone.

Swelling Reduction

Kinesiology provides a passive lift to your skin via its elastic properties. This vacuum effect allows your lymphatic and venous drainage systems to drain and swollen or bruised tissue quicker than without the kinesiology tape.

It is also thought that this same principle can assist the removal of exercise byproducts like lactic acid that may contribute to post-exercise soreness, e.g. delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

More info: Strapping & Supportive Taping

Does Kinesiology Taping Help to Hasten Your Recovery Time from Swelling or Bruising?

Researchers, Bialoszewski et al. 2009, have discovered that kinesiology tape can quickly reduce joint swelling (oedema) and a  bruise (haematoma). The theory is that the elasticity of kinesiology tape lifts the skin away from the swollen tissue below by loosely "crinkling" the skin. This skin lift is known as a sub-dermal vacuum, which provides less physical resistance to removing the retained fluid by your lymphatic and venous drainage systems.

Test this theory out by a quick squeeze of your skin. It will resemble an "orange-peel" appearance. You'll notice loose skin between your fingers. The lower skin tension allows your venous and lymphatic systems to drain the sub-dermal fluid away quicker. Now isn't that clever!

FAQ's about Kinesiology Taping

More info: Strapping & Supportive Taping

Article by John Miller

Post Running Muscle Soreness

Is it an Injury or just DOMS?

Have you ever finished a big run and felt sore right after it? What about two days afterwards? Do you ignore it, or have it checked out?

The most common causes of post-run pain are either a legitimate muscle injury or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

Tips to Determine if it is a Muscle Injury or is it DOMS?

Differentiating between a muscular injury and DOMs is essential to ensure you are not overlooking a potentially sport-limiting injury and getting the damage managed appropriately. Early identification is vital!

What is DOMS?

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMs for short, is an exercise-related muscle condition that arises after intense, unaccustomed, physical exercise. The condition gets its ‘delayed’ name as symptoms are not usually felt until 24 to 72 hours after the workout, typically peaking at the 48-hour mark after exercise.

Research has demonstrated that DOMS is associated with tearing myofibrils, often at multitudinous junctions - best described as microtrauma. This process is followed by inflammation and a shift in intramuscular fluid and electrolytes. This process, combined with other local factors at the cellular and increased intramuscular pressure promote, causes the soreness and stiffness experienced in DOMS.

The swelling, inflammation, tenderness and pain that arises can manifest as decreased joint range of motion, reduced strength and a reduced ability to absorb shock while exercising. Tenderness is typically felt at the end of the muscle (at the tendon), where it attaches down along the affected limb and then as the condition progress. You can feel this throughout the muscle belly itself.

This alteration in muscle function can last up to 10 days!

Muscle Injuries

Acute muscle injuries are quite different in how they present compared to DOMS. Typically, pain and stiffness is felt immediately in the affected tissue or shortly after. A ‘pop’, twinge, feeling of being kicked - without anyone kicking you - or an immediate collapse to the ground. As expected, the amount of damage to the tissue with a muscle injury exceeds that of DOMS. Any general movement of the muscle will reproduce your symptoms, and if the injury is severe enough - bruising can begin to develop with some associated swelling.

At the time of injury, following the RICE protocol (Relative Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) is your best go-to treatment.

It would help if you also avoided HARM factors. No heat should be applied to the affected area. It would be best if you also avoid alcohol consumption, running or other painful movements.  Initially, it is a good idea to avoid massage until a professional has assessed the injury. All the HARM factors have the potential to increase bleeding, which may exacerbate your damage.

Research suggests no anti-inflammatory drugs following a muscle strain is the best way to go. If you seek pain relief, you should consult your regular GP or a pharmacist for pain relief options that don't slow down your healing rates.

More info: How to Treat an Acute Soft Tissue Injury

Benefits of DOMS?

Thankfully yes! The body adapts to the physical exercise that you undertook once the DOMS resolves. So when you go and perform the same routine again, the chance of DOMS onset decreases! However, adaptation to the causative training occurs rapidly after DOMS resolves. This adaptation with repeated activity is called the “repeated-bout effect.”

More info: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).

How to Tell the Difference?

Your physiotherapist will be your best option for an efficient and accurate diagnosis between the two conditions. However, some simple factors help piece together your injury when deciding whether or not to consult help.

DOMS is more unpleasant when commencing a movement but eases as the muscle is warmed up, whereas a muscle injury will reproduce pain with any movement of the injured muscle.

The most definitive factor is taking a detailed history of the injury. If you experienced pain during or immediately after, you are most likely looking at a muscle injury. If the pain is worst the day after and gets worse over the following days, you are most likely dealing with DOMS.

What to Do if You Have DOMS or a Muscle Injury?

If you suspect you have a muscle injury, it is best to consult your physiotherapist earlier rather than later. A thorough assessment is required to ascertain what you have injured and start rehabilitation immediately to help minimise your time out of the sport!

If you suspect you have DOMS, you need to avoid therapeutic interventions that increase muscle pain (e.g. excessive stretching, deep tissue massage), and you should postpone the vigorous physical activity until resolution of pain and restoration of function due to:

  • Decreased shock absorption
  • Decreased coordination of muscle sequencing motion
  • Compensatory recruitment of uninjured muscle groups
  • Increased relative work intensity of the affected muscles at the same workload
  • Altered strength balance of agonist and antagonist groups
  • Inaccurate perception of functional deficits

Evidence suggests that compression garments, remedial massage and heat packs to increase blood flow will decrease your pain.

If you’re unsure if it is a muscle injury or DOMS - we’re only a call away, and our physiotherapists will happily answer your questions and establish the best plan of attack for you!

At PhysioWorks, we are highly experienced physiotherapists in accurately diagnosing and establishing an individualised rehabilitation program. We will look at what caused it, how bad the injury is, treat the root cause and implement a plan to prevent it from coming back!

If you doubt or require more information, please don’t hesitate to contact your nearest PhysioWorks clinic.

More info: Running Injuries