High Ankle Sprain

High Ankle Sprain

 

Article by J.Miller, Z.Russell, A.Clarke

What is a High Ankle Sprain?

A high ankle sprain is an injury to the upper ankle ligaments, which are located above the ankle joint.

A high ankle injury may also involve the syndesmosis between the tibia (thick shin bone) and fibula (thin outer shin bone), just above the ankle joint.

high ankle sprain

Your syndesmosis is a fibrous structure where the two leg bones are connected. Ligaments or connective tissue keep the bones together very little excessive mobility.

High ankle sprains are less common but are much more disabling than your traditional lower ankle sprain. Early diagnosis is vital. Appropriate high ankle sprain treatment does differ from a more moderate lower ankle sprain. Please seek the professional advice of your physiotherapist or foot doctor.

High Ankle Sprain. What Happens?

High ankle or syndesmotic injuries can be troublesome to treat. They do not heal as well as more common lower ankle sprains. The main issue seems to relate to a lack of passive ankle stability in weight-bearing. Long-term functional instability is why your physiotherapist or sports doctor are often concerned about high ankle sprains. It is crucial to determine whether your high ankle injury is stable or unstable.

Stable high ankle sprains are usually conservatively treated. Often this is with a moon boot or immobilisation cast. Please consult your physiotherapist or doctor for more advice.

Do High Ankle Sprains Require Surgery?

Whereas stable high ankle sprains can often avoid surgery, unstable high ankle sprains usually do require surgical fixation. Based upon this, an ankle sprain suspected to be a high ankle sprain requires professional assessment. Only then will your physiotherapist or doctor determine the best treatment course.

What Causes a High Ankle Sprain?

High ankle sprains most commonly occur when your foot is planted on the ground and then an excessive outwards twisting of your foot occurs.

High ankle ligaments can also sprain when your ankle is loaded severely and pushed into excessive dorsiflexion. This injury often occurs in football tackles.

What are the Symptoms of a High Ankle Sprain?

High ankle sprains occur following a traumatic ankle injury.

Patients often report:

  • The pain felt above the ankle that increases with outward rotation of the foot.
  • Pain with walking and often significant bruising and swelling across the higher ankle rather than around the malleolus.
  • Unable to perform a single leg calf raise.

Your severity of symptoms will depend on the grade of ankle sprain: mild, moderate, severe.

Patients with a high ankle sprain without fracture may be able to bear weight but will have pain over the junction between the tibia and fibula just above the level of the ankle. This pain region is higher than the more traditional sprains. Pain over the posterior aspect of the ankle is of particular concern and may be associated with an avulsion fracture or bone bruising.

How is a High Ankle Sprain Diagnosed?

Your physiotherapist, sports doctor or ankle surgeon will clinically assess your ankle ligaments integrity. If they suspect a high ankle sprain or syndesmosis injury, they may recommend a weight-bearing X-ray, CT scan or MRI to confirm the diagnosis.

The radiologist will check for a gapping in the inferior tibiofibular joint as shown in this X-ray. A gap >2mm can become unstable. It is the “unstable” group who may require surgical stabilisation. For specific advice, please contact your trusted healthcare practitioner.

high-ankle-sprain-2

iesWhat’s the Treatment for High Ankle Sprain?

It is vital to have stability between the tibia and fibula at this level because there is a tremendous amount of force that passes through this area when walking and running. These ligaments permit some rotation of the fibula to the tibia.

Once you rupture or overstretch these high ankle ligaments, the bones of your lower leg move apart with every step causing pain and loss of your passive ankle stability. You will often require crutches or a walking boot during this phase. While “unstable” injuries will usually require surgery, “stable” injuries can regularly undertake conservative treatment. Surgeons recommend high-quality physiotherapy in both conventional and post-operative rehabilitation.

Physiotherapy Treatment Aims:

Researchers have concluded that multiple goals need to be covered to effectively rehabilitate your sprained ankle and prevent a recurrence, or even worse, premature ankle arthritis, which can result in permanent ankle fusion surgery. These include:

  1. Injury Protection, Pain Relief & Control Inflammation
  2. Regain Full Range of Motion
  3. Strengthen your Ankle and Calf Muscles
  4. Restore Joint Proprioception & Balance
  5. Restore Normal Function
  6. Walking
  7. Running
  8. Jumping & Landing
  9. Speed & Agility
  10. Sport-Specific Skills
  11. Resume Sport

High Ankle Sprain Treatment Progressions

There is no specific time frame for when to progress from each stage to the next. Many factors will determine your injury rehabilitation during your physiotherapist’s clinical assessment.

You’ll find that in most cases, your physiotherapist will seamlessly progress between the rehabilitation phases as your clinical assessment and function improves. It is also important to note that, your physiotherapist will carefully monitor each progression, as attempting to progress too soon to the next level can lead to re-injury and the frustration of a delay in your recovery.

Phase 1 – Injury Protection: Pain Relief & Anti-inflammatory Tips

As with most soft tissue injuries, the initial treatment is RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

(Active) Rest: In the early phase, you’ll most likely be unable to walk on your sprained ankle. Our first aim is to provide you with some active rest from pain-provoking postures and movements. Active rest means that you should stop doing the action or activity that provokes the ankle pain. In most cases, you will need to be non-weight bearing. You may need to be placed in an ankle walking boot, a supportive ankle brace or utilise crutches.

Ice is a simple and effective modality to reduce your pain and swelling. Please apply for 20-30 minutes each 2 to 4 hours during the initial phase or when you notice that your injury is warm or hot.

Compression: A compression bandage, Tubigrip compression stocking or kinesiology supportive taping will help to both support the injured soft tissue and reduce excessive swelling.

Elevation: Elevating your injured ankle above your heart will assist gravity in reducing excessive swelling around your ankle.

Your physiotherapist will utilise a range of helpful tricks including pain-relieving techniques, joint mobilisations, massage, strapping and acupuncture to assist you during this painful phase.

Anti-inflammatory medication and natural creams such as arnica may help reduce your pain and swelling. However, it is best to avoid anti-inflammatory drugs during the first 48 to 72 hours when they may encourage additional bleeding. Most people can tolerate paracetamol as a pain reliever.

Phase 2: Regain Full Range of Motion

If you protect your injured ankle ligaments appropriately, the torn ligaments will successfully reattach and heal a reasonable functional length. Mature scar formation takes at least six weeks.

During this time, it is important to lengthen and orientate your healing scar tissue via massage and exercises designed to address your joint range of motion, muscle length and normal neural tissue motion.

Just as importantly, you should not overstretch ligaments and soft tissue, or you may develop a passively unstable ankle. Your physiotherapist will prescribe the exercises that are best suited to your needs.

Phase 3: Restore Muscle Strength

Your calf, ankle and foot muscles will require strengthening after a high ankle sprain. It is essential to regain normal muscle strength to provide reasonable dynamic ankle control and function.

Your physiotherapist will progress your strength and power from non-weight-bear to partial, and then full weight bear and resistance loaded exercises. Your physiotherapist will guide you.

Phase 4: Normalise Foot Biomechanics

Your physiotherapist should assess your foot arch and its control. In some instances, you may require a foot orthotic (shoe insert), or you may be a candidate for the Active Foot Posture Stabilisation program.

Your physiotherapist will happily discuss the pros and cons of both options to you.

Phase 5: Restore High Speed, Power, Proprioception and Agility

Most sprained ankle injuries occur during high-speed activities, which place enormous forces on your ankle and adjacent structures.

Balance and proprioception are both known to be adversely affected by injuries such as a sprained ankle. Both aspects need assessment and re-training to minimise the re-injury risk.

To prevent a recurrence as you return to your sport, your physiotherapist will guide you through exercises to address these critical components of rehabilitation to both prevent a recurrence and improve your sporting performance.

Depending on what your sport or lifestyle entails, a customised speed, agility, proprioception and power program will prepare you for light sport-specific training.

Phase 6: Return to Sport

If you play sport and depending on the demands of your chosen sport, you may require specific sport-specific exercises and a progressed training regime to enable a safe and injury-free return to your chosen sport. You must be able to hop at least 15 to 20 times pain-free before even considering returning to light training.

Your physiotherapist will discuss your goals, time frames and training schedules with you to optimise you for a complete and safe return to sport. The perfect outcome will have you performing at full speed, power, agility and function with the added knowledge that a thorough rehabilitation program has minimised your chance of future injury.

What is the Recovery Time from a High Ankle Sprain?

High ankle sprains are more severe than the more common lower ankle sprain and will typically take longer to heal. Suspected high ankle sprains must seek early, and appropriate diagnosis and treatment, which does differ from a more moderate lower ankle sprain.

Syndesmotic injuries heal slower than the more common low ankle sprain, which is why health professionals are often more concerned about “high ankle sprains.” Your physiotherapist, sports doctor or orthopaedic surgeon will first determine if the injury is stable or unstable. If the damage is “stable”, then the high ankle sprain can be treated in a cast or walking boot, usually for six or more weeks.

Grade 1 – Mild

In mild cases, you can expect full ligament healing at approximately six weeks, but it may take longer to prepare you for functional sport again.

Despite the common practise of advising most people to only “rest”, and it will recover, we find that these mild sprains often result in joint stiffness, ligament laxity, muscle weakness or tightness plus reduced proprioception (balance and joint awareness).

If not adequately treated these often cause your ankle and foot joints to compensate movement at adjacent joints, which can lead to several other injuries months or years down the track.

Grade 2 – Moderate

Grade 2 injuries occur when you have a significant ligament injury that allows the ligament to excessively stretch. In most cases, these injuries result in a recovery period of 6 to 12 weeks. With increasing injury severity, the rehabilitation process becomes more complex and extensive. Grade 2 injuries can be stable or unstable. “Unstable” high ankle injuries will require surgery.

All Grade 2 injuries will require thorough rehabilitation to enable:

  • full range of motion
  • full strength
  • full proprioception
  • full power and agility
  • total return to sport-specific drills

Grade 3 – Severe

Grade 3 ligament injuries are when the ligament is completely ruptured. More severe high ankle sprain injuries can also include fractures of the bones or high ankle sprains, which will require additional rehabilitation time to a simple ankle sprain.

If the injury is “unstable”, then a “syndesmotic screw” or a “tightrope” can be placed between the tibia and fibula. These procedures hold the bones in proper position while the syndesmotic ligament heals.

Patients will have the screw in place for about three months while the syndesmotic ligament heals. Patients should understand that if they walk on the leg while the syndesmotic screw is in their leg (even after the ligament has healed), the screw can break. The reason for this is that there usually is some motion between these bones when people walk.

The rehabilitation of a Grade 3 ankle sprain takes typically 3 to 6 months but is quite variable depending on your specific injury. Your physiotherapist or surgeon will be able to provide you with more specific guidelines and advice.

What Happens If You Don’t Treat a Sprained Ankle?

While the sprained ligaments most commonly heal within 6 to 12 weeks, it is the functional disability that is important in the long-term for a sprained ankle.

Stiff ankles that do not regain their full-motion. This stiffness not only hampers your ability to descend stairs or point your toes, which may hinder your ability to swim or dance. Ideally, stiff ankles should regain full range of motion.

Loose ankles will feel unstable and can render you susceptible to re-sprain and further ankle joint damage, which can increase your likelihood of degenerative arthritis. Wobbly ankles can usually strengthen to control your ankle dynamically. Weak ankles fall into a similar bracket.

There is rarely a simple ankle sprain that doesn’t have an ongoing functional impact. Professional rehabilitation guidance cannot only accurately assess your ankle, but also promptly correct any deficits while the ankle injury is in the active tissue healing phase. Chronic ankle sprains are always harder to treat due to scar tissue stiffness, established muscle weakness, or reduced proprioception.

High ankle sprains involve ligament damage to the stabilising structures supporting your two weight-bearing shin bones (tibia and fibula). A high ankle sprain is a far more disabling ankle injury and often misdiagnosed as a simpler lower sprained ankle. Failure to treat an unstable high ankle sprain can quickly destroy your weight-bearing ankle joint surfaces and result in ankle joint destruction. This destruction will be both painful and functionally disabling. Chronic instability often requires ankle surgery to either fuse your ankle joint or total ankle joint replacement.  Neither are perfect outcomes if prevention is an option.

For more specific advice about your sprained ankle, please consult your physiotherapist or foot healthcare specialist.

FAQs

Common Ankle Injuries

ankle pain
Sprained Ankles

The most common ankle injury is a sprained ankle, but ankle pain can have numerous sources.

Ankle pain that results from a traumatic injury is often a sports-related injury. But you don't necessarily have to be an athlete or even a social sportsperson to twist your ankle.

Something as simple as walking on an uneven footpath can cause a rolled ankle, resulting in an ankle sprain. Ankle injuries can potentially occur at any age. Thousands of people sprain their ankle every day around the world. Just while you've been reading this article, a few hundred people have sprained their ankle. While ankle pain can result from a large number of ankle and foot injuries, the most common ankle injuries are sprains (low and high ankle), which involve ligaments and bones in the ankle. But you can also fracture a bone, tear muscles or over-stress a tendon when you sprain your ankle.

High ankle sprains are generally a more significant injury. These injuries require thorough assessment and treatment to avoid long-term ankle arthritis. If you can't perform a single-leg calf raise within a few weeks of the injury, please seek an early professional ankle assessment.

Related links:

Ankle Fractures

An ankle fracture occurs when there is a break in one or more of the bones. The most common ankle fractures are avulsion fractures of your distal fibula, which can be a side effect of an ankle sprain. These are generally less troublesome than if you experience a talar dome fracture with your actual ankle joint. Potts fracture is a significant fracture of your tibia and fibula simultaneously. All suspected fractures require medical investigation and professionally managed by your health professional to avoid long-term foot and ankle issues. If your healthcare professional suspects an ankle fracture, you will be referred for at least an Xray and potentially to an orthopaedic surgeon. Related links:

Ankle Tendinopathies

While muscle strains are more common in your legs, there are important muscles which converge into tendons that wrap around your ankle to stabilise your ankle and foot to protect them from sprains and allow you to walk and run. These muscles and their tendon vitally provide you with a normal foot arch and avoid flat feet.

Your muscles or tendons can become injured or inflamed as a result of overuse or trauma. The inflammation is called tendonitis. They can also tear, completely rupture, or sublux out of place. Medically tendon injuries are known as tendinopathies, and at the ankle may include:

Ankle Arthritis

Your ankle pain and dysfunction can lead to degenerative conditions such as ankle osteoarthritis. While arthritis usually is a chronic deterioration of your ankle joint, it is crucial to slow the progression of ankle arthritis. Please seek the professional advice of your ankle and foot health practitioner, e.g. physiotherapist or podiatrist.

Biomechanical Conditions

Biomechanical disorders may result in foot deformation, painful weight-bearing and potentially nerve compression. In simple terms, this is where your foot and ankle do not have normal bone alignment and motion contr. Here are a few possible conditions related to poor ankle biomechanics.

Muscle Injuries

Nerve-Related Ankle Pain

Children & Youth Conditions

Systemic Conditions That Can Cause Ankle PAin

Soft Tissue Inflammation

Other Useful Information

Sports Injury Management

You probably already know that a sports injury can not only affect your performance, but also your lifestyle. The latest research continues to change sports injury management considerably.  Our challenge is to keep up to date with the latest research and put them to work for you.

How we treated you last year could vary greatly to how we treat you this year. The good news is that you can benefit significantly from our knowledge.

What Should You Do When You Suffer a Sports Injury?

Rest?

Rest from painful exercise or a movement is essential in the early injury stage. "No pain. No gain." does not apply in most cases.  The rule of thumb is - don't do anything that reproduces your pain for the initial two or three days.  After that, you need to get it moving or other problems will develop.

Ice or Heat?

We normally recommend avoiding heat (and heat rubs) in the first 48 hours of injury. The heat encourages bleeding, which could be detrimental if used too early. In traumatic injuries, such as ligament sprains, muscle tears or bruising, ice should help reduce your pain and swelling.

Once the "heat" has come out of your injury, heat packs  can be used. We recommend 20 minute applications a few times a day to increase the blood flow and hasten your healing rate. Heat will also help your muscles relax and ease your pain. If you're not sure what to do, please call us to specifically discuss your situation.

Should You Use a Compressive Bandage?

Yes. A compressive bandage will help to control swelling and bleeding in the first few days.  In most cases, the bandage will also help to support the injury as the new scar tissue is laid down. This should help to reduce your pain. Some injuries will benefit from more rigid support such as a brace or strapping tape. Please ask us if you are uncertain what to do next.

Elevation?

Gravity will encourage swelling to settle at the lowest point.  Elevation of an injury in the first few days is very helpful, especially for ankle or hand injuries.  Think where your injury is and where your heart is. Try to rest your injury above your heart.

What Medication Should You Use?

Your Doctor or Pharmacist may recommend pain killers or an anti-inflammatory drug. It is best to seek their professional advice as certain drugs can interfere with other health conditions, especially asthmatics.

When Should You Commence Physio?

In most cases, "the early bird gets the worm".  Researchers have found that intervention of physiotherapy treatment within a few days has many benefits.  These include:

  • Relieving your pain quicker via joint mobility techniques, massage and electrotherapy
  • Improving your scar tissue using techniques to guide the direction it forms
  • Getting you back to sport or work quicker through faster healing rates
  • Loosening or strengthening of your injured region with individually prescribed exercises
  • Improving your performance when you do return to sport - we'll detect and help you to correct any biomechanical faults that may be affecting your technique or predisposing you to injury

What If You Do Nothing?

Research tells us that injuries left untreated take longer to heal and have lingering pain.  They are also more likely to recur and leave you with either joint stiffness or muscle weakness. It's important to remember that symptoms lasting longer than three months become habitual and are much harder to solve.  The sooner you get on top of your symptoms the better your outcome.

What About Arthritis?

Previously injured joints can prematurely become arthritic through neglect. Generally there are four main reasons why you develop arthritis:

  • Previous injury that was inappropriately treated (eg old joint or ligament sprains)
  • Poor joint positioning (biomechanical faults)
  • Stiff joints (lack of movement diminishes joint nutrition)
  • Loose joints (excessive sloppiness causes joint damage through poor control)

What About Your Return to Sport?

Your physiotherapist will guide you safely back to the level of sport at which you wish to participate.  If you need guidance, simply ask us.

What If You Need Surgery or X-rays?

Not only will your physio diagnose your sports injury and give you the "peace of mind" associated, they'll also refer you elsewhere if that's what's best for you. Think about it. you could be suffering needlessly from a sports injury.  Please use our advice to guide you out of pain quicker . and for a lot longer.

If you have any questions regarding your sports injury (or any other condition), please contact your physiotherapist to discuss. You'll find our friendly staff happy to point you in the right direction.

Acute Sports Injury Clinic

PhysioWorks has established an Acute Sports Injury Clinic at our Ashgrove, Clayfield and Sandgate practices to assist with the early assessment and management of acutely injured sports injuries.

The acute sports injury consultation fee is significantly lower than a routine assessment and treatment consultation. In most cases, your private health will cover the full cost of your full acute injury physio assessment fee.

How to Best Care for Your Sports Injury?

There is never an excellent time for an injury. But we do know that most sports injuries occur over the weekend! That's why at PhysioWorks, we have established an Acute Sports Injury Clinic at a selection of our clinics on a Monday and Tuesday.

Why Use an Acute Sports Injury Clinic?

Your Acute Sports Injury Assessment Consultation allows us to provide you with:

  • A quick and accurate diagnosis. One of our Sports Physiotherapist's or an experienced sports injury-focused Physiotherapist will confidently guide your new injury management.
  • Early acute sports injury care, professional advice and education. What to do this week?
  • Fast referral for X-rays, ultrasound or MRI scans to confirm your diagnosis.
  • Prompt referral to Sports Physicians, GPs or Surgeons with whom we work if required.
  • Immediate supply of walking boots, braces and rental crutches if needed.
  • Low-cost professional service.

Book Online Now! 24-Hours

Ashgrove Ph 3366 4221     Clayfield Ph 3862 4544     Sandgate Ph 3269 1122

What is the PhysioWorks Difference?

Friendly & Caring Service

One thing that you'll notice about the PhysioWorks team is that they are very friendly and caring health professionals. We know that sometimes pain or injury can make you a little less tolerant, so we've trained our healthcare team always to greet and treat you like they would a family member or best friend.

Thorough & Unrushed

Everyone should be entitled to individualised professional care. That's why we book longer initial appointments to ensure that your unhurried first visit will include a thorough and individualised assessment of your injury or problem. This extra time, then allows us to discuss your short, medium and long-term goals and treatment options before commencing your rehabilitation.

You'll find that your PhysioWorks healthcare practitioner is not only a great listener, but also an excellent treatment planner to focus on your efficient and effective treatment outcome. After all, that's why you have chosen to see us in the first place.

What is the Aim of Your Initial Consultation?

Because we do spend more time than most physiotherapists thoroughly assessing, by the completion of your initial consultation, we should be able to determine and inform you:

  • What exactly is your problem
  • Why you are experiencing pain or dysfunction etc
  • What you can be doing to correct it
  • How long it will most likely take to recover
  • How to prevent a future recurrence

Your Tailored Treatment Plan

Your physiotherapist will design a specific treatment program specifically for you based upon your examination. Your treatment may include hands-on treatment, such as joint manipulation, mobilisation or massage. It will probably also include lots of helpful advice and home exercises. We'll also use other technology or treatment tools depending upon your needs.

Your treatment will vary depending upon your age, sex, sport, work requirements or lifestyle, so generic therapies tend to be effective than specifically targeted treatment plans.

As highly-trained exercise prescribers, your physiotherapist will usually instruct you on specific exercises and stretches for you to undertake at home to assist in your rapid recovery. We'll also offer you some helpful advice to help ease your pain, such as the appropriate resting positions or whether to use heat or ice and precisely for how long.

The result is prompt pain reduction, quicker natural healing and your successful return to full activity, whether it be work or sport, as soon as possible.

How Long is Your Physiotherapy Appointment?

Allow at least one hour for your initial physiotherapy session. Subsequent treatments are usually 30 to 60 minutes in duration. Your physiotherapist will inform you if additional or less time is required. Complex or multiple regions may require a longer consultation. Our receptionist will happily book an appropriate appointment for your clinical needs.

Do You Need a Referral to Consult a Physiotherapist?

A doctor's referral is not required to see a physiotherapist in private practice unless you are claiming a work injury (e.g. Workcover), or some other insurance claims. Department of Veterans Affairs patients will require a doctor referral. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident or you are planning for your treatment to be funded by an insurance company, it is good practice to consult your GP for a referral.

What About Private Health Insurance?

A proportion of treatment costs is rebatable under all higher table private health insurance schemes. The private health insurance rebates do vary considerably depending upon your specific coverage.

What is HICAPS?

PhysioWorks is linked to the HICAPS electronic health fund system so you can instantly claim your rebate at the time of treatment. You'll need to present your health insurance card to our receptionist.

Acute Injury Signs

Acute Injury Management. Here are some warning signs that you have an injury. While some injuries are immediately evident, others can creep up slowly and progressively get worse. If you don't pay attention to both types of injuries, chronic problems can develop. For detailed information on specific injuries, check out the injury by body part section.

Don't Ignore these Injury Warning Signs

Joint Pain
Joint pain, particularly in the joints of the knee, ankle, elbow and wrist, should never be ignored. Because these joints are not covered by muscle, pain here is rarely of muscular origin. Joint pain that lasts more than 48 hours requires a professional diagnosis.
Tenderness
If you can elicit pain at a specific point in a bone, muscle or joint, by pressing your finger into it, you may have a significant injury. If the same spot on the other side of the body does not produce the same pain, you should probably see your health professional.  
Swelling
Nearly all sports or musculoskeletal injuries cause swelling. Swelling is usually quite obvious and can be seen, but occasionally you may just feel as though something is swollen or "full" even though it looks normal. Swelling usually goes along with pain, redness and heat.
Reduced Range of Motion
If the swelling isn't obvious, you can usually find it by checking for a reduced range of motion in a joint. If there is significant swelling within a joint, you will lose range of motion. Compare one side of the body with the other to identify major differences. If there are any, you probably have an injury that needs attention.
Weakness
Compare sides for weakness by performing the same task. One way to tell is to lift the same weight with the right and left side and look at the result. Or try to place body weight on one leg and then the other. A difference in your ability to support your weight is another suggestion of an injury that requires attention.

Immediate Injury Treatment: Step-by-Step Guidelines

  • Stop the activity immediately.
  • Wrap the injured part in a compression bandage.
  • Apply ice to the injured part (use a bag of crushed ice or a bag of frozen vegetables).
  • Elevate the injured part to reduce swelling.
  • Consult your health practitioner for a proper diagnosis of any serious injury.
  • Rehabilitate your injury under professional guidance.
  • Seek a second opinion if you are not improving.

Acute Injury Treatments

  • Early Injury Treatment
  • Acupuncture and Dry Needling
  • Gait Analysis
  • Biomechanical Analysis
  • Proprioception & Balance Exercises
  • Medications?
  • Real Time Ultrasound Physiotherapy
  • Soft Tissue Massage
  • Dry Needling
  • Electrotherapy & Local Modalities
  • Heat Packs
  • Joint Mobilisation Techniques
  • Kinesiology Tape
  • Physiotherapy Instrument Mobilisation (PIM)
  • Running Analysis
  • Stretching Exercises
  • Supportive Taping & Strapping
  • TENS Machine
  • Video Analysis

sports physiotherapist brisbane

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 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, skilled assessment and diagnosis of sports injuries, and use 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 of PhysioWorks physiotherapists and massage therapists have a particular interest in sports injury management.

Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy

physiotherapy_brisbane

Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists have expertise in the treatment of musculoskeletal (muscle and joint) conditions. Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy employs advanced clinical assessment and diagnosis methods. Musculoskeletal physiotherapists and have been trained in a broader range of treatment techniques and normally hold a Masters of Physiotherapy qualification.

Members of the Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists Australia (MPA) are world-leaders in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of muscle and joint problems, especially spinal conditions that commonly cause lower back pain and neck pain.

How Can Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Help You?

Your Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist can:

  • Totally relieve or reduce your pain.
  • Provide you with strategies to best manage your injury or condition.
  • Help you to recover quicker and hasten your return to your normal activities.
  • Improve your flexibility, muscle strength, quality of movement, proprioception and co-ordination.
  • Assist you to achieve exercise or functional goals.
  • Improve your fitness.
  • Help you to prevent future injury recurrences.
  • Prescribe exercises to do at home, work in the gym to enhance your recovery.

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, help patients to manage pain and prevent disease for people of all ages. Physiotherapists help to encourage pain-relief, injury recovery, enabling people to stay playing a sport, working or performing activities of daily living while assisting them to remain functionally independent.

There is a multitude of different physiotherapy treatment approaches.

Acute & Sub-Acute Injury Management

Hands-On Physiotherapy Techniques

physiotherapy treatment

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, just 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 the field of 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 the prescription of the "best exercises" for you and the most appropriate "exercise dose" for you depending on your rehabilitation status. Your physiotherapist will incorporate essential components of pilates, yoga and exercise physiology 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 skill to assist injury recovery, prevent injury and improve performance. For the best advice, consult a Sports 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 workstation 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 individual problem, please contact your PhysioWorks team.

Pain

Put simply, pain is the built-in alarm that informs you something is wrong! Pain is your body's way of sending a warning to your brain. Your spinal cord and nerves provide the pathway for messages to travel to and from your brain and the other parts of your body. Pain travels along these nerve pathways as electrical signals to your brain for interpretation. Receptor nerve cells in and beneath your skin sense heat, cold, light, touch, pressure, and pain. You have thousands of these receptor cells. Most cells sense pain. When there is an injury to your body, these tiny cells send messages along nerves into your spinal cord and then up to your brain. In general, pain receptors are classified according to their location. Receptors that respond to injury or noxious stimuli are termed nociceptors and are sensitive to thermal (heat), electrical, mechanical, chemical and painful stimuli. Each nociceptor is connected to a nerve that transmits an electrical impulse along its length towards the spinal cord and then, ultimately your brain. It is your brain that informs you whether or not you are experiencing pain. Plus, your pain can plays tricks - especially when you suffer chronic pain.

Pain messages travel slower than other nerve stimulation

Nerves can also be categorised according to their diameter (width) and whether or not a myelin sheath is present. Three types of nerves are concerned with the transmission of pain: A beta fibres, which have a large diameter and are myelinated A delta fibres, which have a small diameter and also have myelinated sheaths. C fibres, which have small diameters and are non-myelinated (slowing their conduction rate) and are generally involved with the transmission of dull, aching sensations. Nerves with a large diameter conduct impulses faster than those with a small diameter. The presence of a myelin sheath also speeds up the nerve conduction rate. One method of easing your pain is to provide your nervous system with high speed "good feelings" such as rubbing your injured area. This is the same principle that a tens machine (pain relieving machines) utilises to provide pain relief.