What Is RTS Testing? Why Do I Need It?

What Is RTS Testing? Why Do I Need It?


Article by Zoe Russell

What Is RTS Testing? & Why Do I Need It?

Return to Sport (RTS) is an essential component of injury. Research is overwhelmingly proving that we cannot rely on biological healing times to make decisions regarding when to return to sport following injury. A common example is considering return to sport after having a knee reconstruction surgery, where Grindem (2018) has demonstrated that a successful and injury free return to sport was greater in those athletes who had undertaken RTS testing..

What is RTS testing?

RTS is a decision making process, when put simply, is the process of discussing the risks and benefits of your return to activity. RTS is not 100% risk – free, this is why it is essential to undertake RTS testing, to help provide good information to base decision making about your RTS.

RTS testing involves your PhysioWorks physiotherapist, taking you through a test battery, specific to your injury and your progress along the recovery continuum. It is important to recognise that RTS starts immediately after sustaining an injury, and your Physiotherapist will be testing you from the initial injury onset, to have baseline information to guide your progress throughout your recovery.

RTS testing allows your physiotherapist in consultation with your Doctor, to guide you through the decision making process regarding your return to sport. PhysioWorks Physiotherapists also communicate these results to your orthopaedic specialist or general practitioner to guide the discussion about when it is best to RTS.

It is important to acknowledge that there are a number of factors to consider and this involves a shared decision making process, between you – the athlete, physiotherapist, and the orthopaedic specialist or other health care provider involved in your care. These decisions are based upon the information about injury specifics, your physical performance, fatigue, biological healing, goals and future goals with respect to your injury and your sport.

RTS Testing often includes:

Injury Measures

Specific tests to your injury

  • Examples include: Knee Swelling Test or Range of motion (ROM),
  • This provides information about how your injury is progressing and responding to your rehabilitation program.

Physical Measures

Specific Tests related to your injury which are seen as favourable to success

  • Examples include – Strength measures, Hop Tests
  • Tests that provide an indication of your ability to perform the requirements of your sport.

Conditioning & Agility Measures

General fitness test

  • Eg: Beep Test or IR2 Test for cardiovascular fitness
  • Specific Field tests to your sport eg: Agility

And in some cases, may require the use of Outcome tools that may assess things like:

  • General overall health
  • Psychological screening for confidence or fear of re – injury.

This information forms a profile for each individual that permits a thorough decision making process to guide your RTS. Your PhysioWorks physiotherapist is experienced in conducting your RTS testing, and tailoring it to your specific injury needs and the requirements of your sport. They will also provide you with a tertiary prevention program to avoid having a recurrence of your injury!

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