Sports Injury Rehabilitation

What is rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation is the restoration of proper joint function and form. It comes from the Latin prefix re = again and habitare = make fit.

What is the aim of rehabilitation?

The aim of rehabilitation is to limit the extent of the injury, reduce or reverse the impairment and functional loss, and prevent or eliminate the disability.

What are sports injuries?

Sports injuries are injuries that tend to occur during sports participation, training or competition. Sports injuries can occur through all levels of sport from novice competitors to professional athletes.
These injuries are generally in the from of soft tissue injuries affecting ligaments, muscles, tendons, connective tissue, joints and nerves.

What are some contributing factors to sports injuries?

Athlete factors

  • Strength, endurance and conditioning
  • Previous Injuries
  • Technique
  • Nutrition and hydration
  • Psychology

Sports factors

  • Contact vs non-contact sport
  • Repetitive loads e.g. Tennis or running
  • Awkward movements e.g. side stepping or cutting
  • Load management e.g. over training

Environmental factors

  • Surface e.g. AstroTurf
  • Weather
  • Distractions
  • Other athletes

What is our approach to sports injury rehabilitation?

When managing the injured athlete we need to consider not only the presenting injury, we must consider the patient profile be it physical and mental, patient goals and expectations as well as patient understanding and compliance.
Our primary goals when rehabilitating the athlete is to reduce pain and swelling, improve mechanics and return the athlete to pre-injury status in as little time as possible. As practitioners, if we are unable to beat the natural healing cycle of an injury, then we have failed the task at hand.

There will always be a form of passive care applied in the earlier stages of recovery which may include but isn’t limited to soft tissue therapy, dry needling, cupping, mobilisations and manipulation.
Active care is also encouraged from the initial presentation with key focuses on flexibility, strength, stability, balance and proprioception.
General injury management advice is provided e.g. application of ice or heat and bracing to allow for the injury to further heal and to minimise breakdown of surrounding structures.

When managing an athlete, it is important to identify when co-management with another practitioner is required e.g. a general practitioner, orthopaedic surgeon or psychologist. If this is the case then a referral will be organised to optimise the athlete’s recovery.