Whether you are a highly-trained professional athlete or a complete beginner, there’s always a risk of becoming injured. A 2016 study found that 8.6 million people aged 5 to 24 have a sports injury every year in the United States.
There are two kinds of sports injuries: acute and chronic. A chronic injury is caused by prolonged, repetitive movements which are common in endurance sports such as swimming, running and cycling. An injury that occurs suddenly and is usually associated with trauma such as breaking a bone or tearing a muscle is known as an acute injury.
How to prevent sports injuries
- Warm up properly to help prepare the muscles for exercise. Incorporate dynamic exercises and sports-specific movements.
- Wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the exercise you are undertaking. Shoes that are worn out or badly fitting can increase the risk of injury.
- Don’t push yourself beyond your level of fitness. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of training.
- Use correct technique and form. Consider having coaching or a personal trainer to learn the proper techniques for your sport.
- Cross-train with other sports to ensure overall fitness and muscle strength.
- Cool down after exercising, and perform static stretches to release the tension in your muscles.
- Allow for adequate recovery time between training sessions and incorporate rest days into your week.
Some injuries heal on their own with rest, but others are more persistent and might require care from an expert such as a physiotherapist.
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What is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is a treatment to restore, maintain and improve a patient’s mobility, function and well-being. Physiotherapists help people affected by injuries, illness or disabilities through exercise, manual therapy, education and advice.
A Physiotherapist will assess and diagnose the injury, test specific muscles or joints and devise a treatment plan.
Benefits of Physiotherapy for sports injuries
- Pain relief
Physiotherapy can help you manage, mitigate or even eliminate the pain of a sports injury. Treatments including hands-on mobilisation, massage, taping and acupuncture can relieve or reduce pain.
- Avoid surgery
While surgery is sometimes the only way to treat sports injuries, the more conservative approach is to first try physiotherapy. By eliminating pain and assisting with healing, there may be no need for surgery. If you do need to undergo surgery, physiotherapy can help provide a better recovery outcome.
- Tailored and personalized treatment
A physiotherapist will devise a personalised treatment plan specific to an individual’s areas of weakness and can make adjustments for current or previous injury limitations. Physiotherapy is not a one-size-fits-all solution, so the treatment will be tailored to the individual.
- Assist your return to sport
One of the main benefits of physiotherapy for sports injuries is that it speeds up the healing process meaning that you are able to return to sport quicker. A physiotherapist will provide you with recommendations on a time frame for return, and exercises in combination with treatment to speed up this process safely.
- Prevent future injuries
Another of the benefits of physiotherapy is learning how to avoid future injuries. A physiotherapist will teach the proper exercise techniques, to achieve strength and flexibility in your muscles and joints, and therefore reduce the chances of a repeat injury.
If you live in the UK and want to see a Physiotherapist there are two main treatment routes: through the NHS or through private practitioners such as Guys & St Thomas.
Deep Tissue Massage
One of the techniques commonly used by Physiotherapists is deep tissue massage. This type of massage uses slower and firmer strokes to work on the deeper layers of muscle tissue. A Physiotherapist may use fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms during the deep tissue massage.
The benefits of deep tissue massage include:
- Reduces pain from sports injuries
- Improves blood pressure
- Breaks up scar tissue
- Improves flexibility and suppleness
- Stress relief
- Improves postural problems
This post is sponsored by Guys & St Thomas.
Have you ever had Physiotherapy for a sports injury?