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An athlete undergoing sports physiotherapy

Ten Sports Injuries Physiotherapy Can Treat

Sporting injuries are commonly seen by physiotherapists. Sports physio Perth is a specialised branch of physiotherapy dealing with injuries relating to athletes and amateur sports people. Athletes are more prone to injuries due to the extra load placed on the joints, muscles and bones compared to everyday use. Sport physio South Perth help athletes with recovery and rehabilitation after an injury, while also providing advice and resources to prevent future injuries and correct any current problems.

Whether you’re a professional athlete or an amateur sports person, injuries can happen due to poor technique, accidents or over training. Sport physio Perth are highly experienced in most athletic injuries, and can help you to return to your sport as quickly as possible.

Often a sport injury will require first aid initially using the RICE principle (rest, ice, compression and elevation). Following this, and depending on the injury, physiotherapy treatment may be required. Some of the treatments may include, muscle stretching, deep tissue massage, joint mobilisation or dry needling (similar to acupuncture).

Sport injuries which may require emergency treatment include the following:

  • Neck and spine injuries
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Head and face injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Abdominal injuries
  • Eye injuries

Some of the most common sporting injuries are sprains and strains. A sprain is an injury to the ligaments, which are tough bands connecting the bones to the joints. When ligaments are stretched beyond their limit a tear may occur. Strains are injuries to the muscle fibres or tendons. These attach the muscles to the bones. Often a strain is called a pulled muscle. A strain may occur when the muscle is overused or over-stretched causing the muscle fibres or tendons to tear.

Ten Common Sporting Injuries

1. Ankle Sprain

Ankle SprainAnkle sprains are a very common injury seen by sports physio Perth. An ankle sprain occurs when there is tearing of the ligaments connecting the bones in the ankle. These ligaments stabilise the joint and when over stretched, may result in a sprain. Sports players are vulnerable to ankle sprains due to the stress placed on the joints during movements such as twisting, jumping, turning and fast direction changes.

More than 80% of ankle sprains happens when the foot twists inward affecting the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. The joint in this area is stabilised by three small ligaments, whereas the inside of the ankle joint is stabilised by a thick and strong ligament called the deltoid ligament. Sprains to the inside ligament account for less than 20% of injuries.

There are three grades of tears to the ligaments ranging from mild to moderate, and severe. Immediate treatment for a sprained ankle requires the RICE principle, rest ice, compression and elevation. This helps to reduce damage until further treatment can be done.

Many ankle sprains heal within two to six weeks, however severe sprains can take up to 12 weeks of recovery. Rehabilitation for an ankle sprain may include stretching, strengthening, balance and flexibility exercises. This can help to reduce the chance of the injury recurring. Your physio will determine whether bracing or taping the ankle is necessary.

2. Hamstring Strain

A very common sporting injury is a hamstring strain. The hamstring muscles can be very susceptible to strains for athletes as these muscles are used in many sports which require a high degree of power and speed. One of the main causes of a hamstring strain is poor stretching technique or a lack of stretching. 

Hamstrings strains are mainly caused by an imbalance between the quadriceps and the hamstring muscles. The quadriceps are a large and strong group of muscles located at the front of the thigh and can force the hamstring muscles to overstretch by placing excess pressure on them. Other causes of hamstring strains can be poor flexibility, inadequate warm up and fatigue.

The initial treatment of a hamstring strain requires the RICE principle as mentioned above. The treatment will vary depending on the severity of the strain. For those with a minor hamstring strain, stretching and strengthening exercises are often effective during recovery.

3. Groin Strain

Groin Strain

A groin strain is a tear to one of the groin muscles, usually one of the five hip adductor muscle groups. Although any one of these adductor muscle groups can be strained, the most common is the adductor longus. This injury usually occurs during high-speed activities such as sprinting, kicking and sudden direction changes.

Similar to other strains, a groin strain can be mild, moderate or severe. Depending on the severity, a groin strain may cause pain, inflammation, muscle tightness or trouble walking. Physio for a groin strain aims to promote healing, restore muscle balance, increase strength, restore movement and prevent further injury. This is achieved through a series of exercises and rehabilitation.

4. Knee Injuries

Knee injuries are extremely common and there can be numerous causes such as muscle strains, ligament sprains, tendon tears, cartilage tears, patella-femoral pain syndrome or bone conditions such as arthritis. Knee injuries can happen while playing sports due to falls, collisions, sudden twists and turns, excessive force and overuse.

One common sports-related knee injury is an ACL tear or strain. The ACL is one of the major ligaments that stabilises the knee. This injury often happens when athletes are slowing down to cut or change directions. Usually the ligaments on the inside of the knee are torn with an ACL injury.

Treatment for a knee injury will depend on the cause and needs an accurate diagnosis which a physio or doctor will provide. Some of the treatments for a knee injury may include taping, stretching and strengthening exercises, massage and mobilisation techniques. 

Stress Fractures

5. Stress Fractures

Another very common sporting injury is the stress fracture. Stress fractures are small cracks in the bone caused by repetitive force on a bone which isn’t strong enough. One of the most common types of stress fractures happens in runners often including the foot. Stress fractures can also happen in conditions such as osteoporosis.

Treatment for a stress fracture involves resting from the activity that caused the injury while remaining active in an activity which doesn’t cause pain. If the activity that caused the stress fracture is resumed too early, more severe fractures can occur, extending the healing time.

6. Shoulder Injuries

The shoulder is one of the most commonly injured joints, particularly for athletes and amateur sports people. The shoulder is very susceptible to injury due to its very small joint contact zone, which makes it quite unstable. Shoulder injuries can occur due to trauma and wear and tear. There are many types of shoulder injuries however some of the most common include:

  • Bursitis shoulder
  • Rotator cuff injury
  • Dislocation
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Arthritis
  • Fractures

Physio for shoulder injuries helps to reduce pain, inflammation, increase function, provide stability and strengthen surrounding muscles. Treatment for a shoulder injury may include taping, dry needling, manual therapy and strengthening exercises.

7. Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow InjuryTennis elbow doesn’t just occur in tennis players and can affect many types of sport players. Tennis elbow is an injury to the muscles that extend the wrist and fingers. The injury usually occurs on the outside of the elbow, just on the bony bump where the muscles attach.

Tennis elbow is usually seen in sports which require a lot of gripping activities, and can be seen as an overuse sports injury. Tennis elbow can happen due to many repetitive activities particularly sporting activities with poor technique. Some of the other causes include: typing, hammering, painting, excessive gripping and poor muscle strength.

While there are many treatments for tennis elbow, they all aim to improve function and reduce pain. Some physio treatments include: manual therapy, education, strengthening and stretching exercises, braces, medication and sport specific rehabilitation.

8. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition in the hand caused by pressure on the median nerve which runs through the wrist. Carpal tunnel can cause pain, numbness and pins and needles. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs due to pressure on the nerve which results in compression.

Physio for carpal tunnel syndrome is often very effective, particularly in mild to moderate cases. Physio treatment will address muscle strength, range of motion, grip strength, fine motor skills and posture.

9. Achilles Injuries

Achilles InjuryAchilles tendinopathy is a common chronic injury in athletes. In the past there has been limited treatment options due to a lack of understanding about this condition. However, recent research has helped to increase knowledge and provide better treatment options.

Previously Achilles Tendinopathy was called Achilles Tendinitis. However, recent research has shown that this injury doesn’t involve inflammation and may actually be due to a series of microtears which weaken the tendon.

The Achilles tendon is a large tendon located at the back of the ankle which extends from the calf, down the leg to the lower leg. The Achilles tendon connects the foot to the leg muscles and allows the strength to push off during running and walking.

The most common injuries of the Achilles tendon are tearing or rupturing of the tendon. This often happens due to an excessive load on the tendon. Some of the reasons this may happen include:

  • Incorrect or inadequate footwear
  • A sudden increase intensity during activity
  • Not enough recovery time
  • A sudden increase in duration of training
  • Excessive force on the Achilles tendon
  • Poor muscles flexibility or joint range of motion
  • Inadequate warm up and cool down

Achilles Tendinopathy usually requires immediate treatment using the RICE principle mentioned above. Usually Achilles tendinopathy doesn’t get better on its own. It may feel better with rest, however once you begin activity again it will become painful. Continuous activity may prolong recovery time. Physiotherapy aims to help to reduce pain while encouraging healing and restoring normal function to the muscles and tendons.

10. Neck Injuries

Sport-related neck injuries can range from mild to severe. Some of these injuries include: neck fractures, cervical spinal cord injuries and neck sprain. A neck sprain is one of the more common neck injuries and is one of the fastest to heal and rehabilitate.

The majority of the time a neck sprain is related to the joints, muscles and ligaments. This can occur from high-speed injuries, muscle fatigue and excessive loads. A neck injury may cause pain and stiffness, as well as muscle tightness and tenderness.

A neck injury can usually be treated successfully by a physiotherapist. A physio aims to reduce pain, restore normal neck motion, increase strength and muscle length to prevent further injury.

Prevention

Sports Injury PreventionPreventing an injury from happening in the first place is always best, however accidents still occur. However, you can take measures to reduce the risk of an injury, or a recurrence of an old injury. Avoiding and reducing the risk of injuries can be done by maintaining proper technique when playing sports. Your physio can help with the knowledge and tools to make sure you have the correct technique and posture during sport. Other measures you can take include: using the correct protective gear, warming up properly and training in appropriate conditions.

Some good prevention methods include:

  • Wearing the appropriate protective gear
  • Warm up thoroughly
  • Use safety equipment
  • Stay hydrated
  • Use taping for vulnerable joints
  • Maintain fitness levels
  • Don’t go beyond your level of fitness
  • Use good technique
  • Allow for enough recovery time
  • Cool down after training

Treatment for Sports Injuries

Sports Injury Treatment

Treatment for a sports-related injury will depend on the severity. You should always seek advice from your doctor or physiotherapist to receive the correct diagnosis and treatment. Sometimes it may not be obvious, and what you think is a sprain, may be a fractured bone.

Attempting to return to sport before your injury has healed properly may cause further damage and prolong recovery time. One of the main risks for a soft tissue injury is a previous injury. To remain active during the healing process you should choose forms of exercise that don’t involve the injured part of the body where possible.

Sport physio South Perth can hep to diagnose, treat and prevent sporting injuries while promoting strength and flexibility. Sports physio is a great way to heal from injury as well as learn prevention methods and strengthen the body to reduce the risk of future injuries. Sports physio Perth can have you returning to your favourite sport as quickly as possible.