Category Archives: Treatment

What’s the difference between Physiotherapy and Sport therapy?

 

As it’s quite detailed the articles have been split into two, so we’re starting off by explaining about Sports Therapy.

Part 1

The short answer is that both professions are trained and insured to treat musculoskeletal disorders back but there are some key differences in their training and approach. In this article, we give an overview of the two professions, outlining their similarities and differences to help you identify the most appropriate practitioner to aid you back to optimal fitness.

As we all know, a key part of staying healthy is physical exercise – whether this is done on a treadmill at the gym or outside on a football pitch. If you are a keen fitness enthusiast, ensuring you are exercising safely is crucial. Having said this, even the most careful of us can sometimes succumb to injury.

Sports injuries can be caused by a variety of things including not warming up properly, pushing yourself too hard or simply suffering an accident. When injuries happen, they usually require you to stay off your feet and rest up while you heal. When exercise or sport is a big part of your life, recovering from injury and returning to normal function is paramount.

This is where sports therapy comes in. A sports therapist aims to provide care for sport and recreational participants to help them recover as quickly and fully as possible. On this page we’ll look at what sport therapy entails, common sports injuries and different treatments that may be used.

What is sports therapy?

There is often confusion regarding the difference between physiotherapy and sports therapy as they both deal with similar health concerns. While sports therapists do apply physiotherapy skills, sports therapy is specifically concerned with the prevention and treatment of sport-related injuries using a variety of modalities and techniques.

Another common misconception is that sports therapists only work with professional athletes – this is not true. No matter what your occupation is (or your sporting ability), if your injury is sports/exercise related, a sports therapist will look to help you.

Utilizing the principles of sport sciences, the therapy uses various techniques, such as sports massage, to help fully rehabilitate those with injuries. As well as helping you to recover from injury, a sports therapist will also use their skills to optimize your performance and support you in your sporting/exercise endeavors.

Common sports injuries

When you exercise or play sports regularly, certain parts of the body can become susceptible to strain or injury. While of course exercise is beneficial to your health, it is important to be aware of some common sports injuries. If you feel pain somewhere in your body when exercising or playing a sport, be sure to seek medical advice as you may have injured yourself.

Listed below are some common sports injuries to be aware of:

Back injuries

Many people will suffer from back pain at some point in their life, whether it’s due to a recurring problem or bad posture. Those who exercise regularly may also encounter back problems. The most common of which is muscle strains and ligament sprains. Athletic over-use, insufficient stretching or even trauma can cause these sorts of sprains.

Another common injury in sport enthusiasts is spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis. Defects of a vertebra’s pars interarticularis are called spondylolysis and the slippage of one vertebra in relation to another vertebra is called spondylolisthesis. These injuries are normally seen in those who participate in sports that involve a degree of twisting and hyperextension of the spine (for example, gymnastics).

Ankle and foot injuries

Other parts of the body that can cause problems for regular exercisers are the ankles and feet. Ankle sprains are perhaps the most common of these sorts of injuries, especially for those who run and jump when they exercise. Turf toe (pain at the base of the big toe) is another well-known injury and is common for those who play sport on artificial turf. Breaks and fractures are less common, but can occur as a result of trauma or severe over-use.

Knee injuries

Knees can cause health problems for many people and knee pain is a common complaint for sport participants. There are several different causes for knee pain including:

      • arthritis

      • ligament injuries

      • cartilage injuries

      • meniscal tears

      • tendonitis

      • dislocated kneecap.

Uncovering the root cause of knee pain is important – if left untreated it can lead to recurring issues and may impact your ability to play sport in the future.

Hip injuries

The hips are part of our core and are central to many movements the human body makes. Common causes for pain in this area include inflammation of the joint and muscle strains. Again, these conditions can occur due to over-use and trauma. Stress fractures in the hip are another complaint – these are most prevalent in those who participate in high-impact sports, such as long distance running.

Wrist injuries

If the sport you play involves wrist action (for example tennis or basketball), you may find yourself susceptible to wrist injuries. Sprains and tendonitis are typical examples, however long-term conditions such as arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome can also cause problems.

Elbow injuries

Similarly to wrist injuries, sports that require a lot of arm movement also leave you susceptible to elbow pain. One of the best-known sporting injuries in this category is known as tennis elbow (official name – lateral epicondylitis). This condition involves pain over the outside of the joint and can make it difficult for the sufferer to grip objects. Despite its name, most patients with this condition don’t play tennis.

Other elbow injuries include fractures from trauma and nerve compression (radial tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome are typical examples). As with other joint injuries/conditions, if left untreated elbow pain can become a recurring issue that may affect your ability to participate in sport.

Shoulder injuries

The shoulder is a complex part of the body and therefore can be the cause of many sports injuries. The rotator cuff in particular is often affected, with tendonitis of the cuff and tears seen regularly by sports therapists.

Another condition called frozen shoulder can also be a problem. This is where the joint stiffens and almost locks, inhibiting mobilisation. On the flip side of this, shoulder instability is a problem that makes the shoulder joint loose and prone to dislocation.

What will happen when I see a sports therapist?

While sports therapists may use different approaches and techniques, generally your treatment will follow this format:

      • initial consultation

      • assessment

      • treatment

      • rehabilitation

      • prehabilitation.

Initial consultation

During your initial consultation, your sports therapist will look to find out more about you and why you are there. You may be asked some questions about your lifestyle, medical history and any other relevant information (for example previous injuries and treatment). When your therapist has detailed information about your background, they will be better able to assess you. This is also an opportunity for you to get to know the therapist better and ask any questions you may have about their experience.

Assessment

This part of the process will help your sports therapist understand what your injury is and how best to treat it. The assessment may involve physical elements such as checking your posture, functional movements and ligament stability tests. Normally you will be referred to a doctor to receive an official diagnosis. Once the diagnosis has been made, the treatment can begin.

Treatment

Once you have agreed on a treatment plan together, your sports therapists will carry this out. There are many different treatments that can be used and some may take a multidisciplinary approach. If you are unsure what your treatment will entail, be sure to raise this with your therapist.

Rehabilitation

Depending on the nature of your condition/injury, sports rehabilitation may be required. Rehabilitation aims to help you manage your condition until you are returned to full health (if this is viable). Your sports therapist can guide you through this, offering tips and advice to help you cope in everyday life.

Prehabilitation

Within sports therapy the term prehabilitation relates to keeping you injury free in the future. Giving you advice and suggested exercises to carry out, your sports therapist can help you avoid the same injury in the future.

Sports therapy treatments

Sports therapy utilizes a number of techniques to help ease pain and encourage recovery. While the specific treatment used will depend on the nature of your injury and your own personal history, the following techniques are commonly used:

      • massage

      • mobilisation

      • myofascial release

      • electrotherapy

      • hot/cold treatment.

Massage

Many sports therapists will be able to offer sports massage and/or remedial massage to help reduce aches and pains from training, treat soft-tissue injuries and encourage blood flow to the muscles. Within the realm of massage there are many different techniques that are used, including:

Effleurage – A term used to describe a series of light massage strokes that warm up the muscles before deeper work begins.

Petrissage – A stronger technique that kneads the soft tissue to work out knots, improve blood flow and loosen muscles.

Tapotement – This method is a rhythmic movement, usually using the side of the hand or tips of the fingers. This action is used to ‘wake-up’ the nervous system and encourage lymphatic drainage.

Neuromuscular techniques – Helping to treat pain, this technique involves applying concentrated pressure to muscle areas to break the cycle of spasm and pain.

Positional release – This is a specialised technique that requires the therapist to locate the tender joint/tendon/ligament in the body and then positioning it in a certain way to ‘release’ the tension and pain.

Mobilisation

Mobilisation is a manual therapy that is designed to help restore joint movement and range of motion in the event of joint dysfunction. The sports therapist will gently move the joint in a passive way within the limit of the joint’s normal range of motion. This kind of movement needs to be very specific and gentle, so must be carried out by a qualified professional. If joint dysfunction is left untreated, it can cause muscle spasm, pain and fatigue.

Myofascial release

Also known as soft tissue mobilisation, myofascial release is used to release tension build up in the fascia. Fascia are sheets of fibrous tissue that surround muscles, separating them into groups. When a trauma occurs, the fascia can shorten, restricting movement and blood flow.

Techniques used in myofascial release look to break up any adhesions and relax muscle tension. This helps to reduce pain and restore normal range of movement.

Electrotherapy

Some sports therapists may use electrotherapy in your treatment. This covers a range of treatments, including TENS and laser treatment. TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machines transmit a small electric charge to the muscles via a small patch worn on the skin. These are known to help with certain types of pain and can be used as an alternative to (or alongside) painkillers.

Hot/cold treatment

The short answer is that both professions are trained and insured to treat musculoskeletal disorders back but there are some key differences in their training and approach. In this article, we give an overview of the two professions, outlining their similarities and differences to help you identify the most appropriate practitioner to aid you back to optimal fitness.

As we all know, a key part of staying healthy is physical exercise – whether this is done on a treadmill at the gym or outside on a football pitch. If you are a keen fitness enthusiast, ensuring you are exercising safely is crucial. Having said this, even the most careful of us can sometimes succumb to injury.

Sports injuries can be caused by a variety of things including not warming up properly, pushing yourself too hard or simply suffering an accident. When injuries happen, they usually require you to stay off your feet and rest up while you heal. When exercise or sport is a big part of your life, recovering from injury and returning to normal function is paramount.

This is where sports therapy comes in. A sports therapist aims to provide care for sport and recreational participants to help them recover as quickly and fully as possible. On this page we’ll look at what sport therapy entails, common sports injuries and different treatments that may be used.

In the next article we will discuss Physiotherapy, so look out for that soon.

Tight Hamstrings?

Tight or stiff hamstrings is a common injury I find in my day to day work. Anyone with tight hamstrings can try stretching on a daily basis, but they will find that this has no effect.

The usual way people determine their hamstring flexibility is whether they can bend from the hips and touch their toes. Most professionals will use this in their assessment to get a picture of how the body moves. For those that think that bending by the hips and touching their toes helps the hamstrings, they will find out later in this blog that this isn’t a true representation of hamstring flexibility. This is because far more muscle groups are involved than most think to accomplish this task.

The reason it is beneficial for a professional to observe you touch your toes, is so that they can see exactly how your anterior and posterior chain functions. Simply put, to see how free your spine and hip interact; with this information you can see if the hamstrings relax to a reasonable length.

After we assess the movements of the hip and spine we can then look into the diaphragm, pelvic floor and intercostal muscle, as these too have the ability to impact your toe-touch motion. If there is good motion in the hips, but not much thought the spine, then we expand the assessment to other areas of the body that help forward flexion. It is quite normal to feel very quick changes as a result, which is perceived as hamstring flexibility but actually could be an improvement in the muscles within the posterior chain. Through this, we then begin to see the full range of motion in the hamstring as previous muscles that can inhibit the hamstring flexibility are removed.

If the Spinal movement is good and we can see the hamstring and hip movement is restricted, we will then move onto posterior knee stability.

Posterior knee stability

When you walk or run your hamstrings are used along with your gastrocnemius to stabilise the knee through an isometric contraction. This is to prevent the knee from bending as our foot hits the ground through initial contact. The stiffness in the hamstring is needed to help you absorb the force when the foot hits the ground and ensures the power you are generating in your hips is not wasted, and so, generates forward motion.

If there is no stiffness in the hamstrings and gastrocnemius, then these two muscle groups start to work harder than they need to during low impact work and this then starts to create a feeling of constant tension, with a feeling that it always needs to be stretched.

So, if this is occurring in your hamstrings and you’re trying to stretch, but no matter how long and how many times you do it you feel nothing is working, then most likely it is not your hamstrings at fault. If you treat the symptoms and not the cause, it will be harder for you to reach your desired results.

What is Sport Therapy?

 

(This is a blog I really should of started with)

Sports Therapy is an aspect of health care that is specifically concerned with injury prevention and rehabilitation of your injury. It helps to get you back to full fitness, regardless of functionality, occupation or fitness concerns, whilst keeping in mind your age and ability.

The principles used incorporate sports science and exercises, in addition to physiological and pathological processes and manual therapy to prepare you for training, competition or daily lifestyle.

Some of the benefits of sport massage:

• Increases muscle flexibility and range of movement

• Prevents injuries

• Re-energises and strengthens your body’s own healing

• Speeds up recovery and improves performance

• Stress relief and relaxation

• Relieves muscle tension and soreness

Who is suitable for Sports therapy?

This is the easiest place to say “ITS NOT JUST FOR SPORTS PEOPLE”. Its for everyone.

Sports therapy, although could be named better, is solely based on improving movement and reducing discomfort, so anyone can benefit from it.

You can be of any age engaged in any type of activity. Some of my clients are people in desk type work. So seated for long periods of time. So if you are active or sedentary, I’m here to help!

Fitness and injury prevention

After effects of training, general soreness, the niggle, stiff muscles are all common and are all easily ignored. However, if these feelings are ignored and you continue training, you are likely to cause minor damage which will eventually stop you from training and hinder your physical development. You can also suffer mental effects from this too. This will in turn change your focus on training i.e. you will train what doesn’t hurt and end up either causing another injury or worsening a current injury by creating an imbalance.

Sport massage is an effective way of maintaining muscle flexibility and muscle condition, which prevents muscle strains. It can also help those minor niggles before they grow into an injury.

Also, with a further look into movement patterns identify what area your body needs to be improved to stop injury in its tracks.

Preventing running injuries

Why we love running so much

For my first blog, I wanted to tackle running. It’s the sport with injuries that come up most frequently in the clinic. So why do so many of us love it so much? Are we built to run? Have you ever sat down and thought of what running actually is?

I am sitting in Brendan Chaplin’s class – a strength and conditioning mentor – and asking myself all these questions. Running is, in my mind, one of England’s biggest fitness crazes. People use running to accomplish great feats of distance, competition and a free source of travelling.

So I found myself thinking back to the beginning. Running for us Homosapiens is one of our most basic forms of movement. We use it to track and hunt food. Through time, running eventually became a sport, around 2,700 years ago. To honour Zeus, men would compete by sprinting from one side of the arena to the other.

After time we come to the invention of ‘jogging,’ which came about in the 16th century. Nobles would wear amour into battle and find jogging was easier and could conserve more energy.

So there is much more history to running than we might first expect. We used running to hunt, then to compete. But let’s not forget we can also use running to bet on. So, how did social running begin?

Social running or running training for long distances didn’t really come together until the legendary “Arthur Lydiad”. He created the first social jogging club 40 years ago in New Zealand who inspired people to run and introduced the ‘base training’ phase that runners use today in their training program.

Physiological requirements

In the past 30 years of marathon running, the infamous performance-limiting phenomenon known as “hitting the wall” affects 1-2% of those who race. According to sport scientist, Rapoport (2010), there are variable physiological energy constraints that provide a predictable measurement for when this will effect individual runners.

An example of the measurements include muscle mass distribution, liver and muscle densities and running speed. So if it is your first time racing and one of your concerns is “hitting the wall,” all you really have to consider is eating well and make sure you find a comfortable pace and sticking to it.

Movement analysis

Running is a pure unidirectional movement. The main muscles specifically involved with the impact and movement are your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus, illiacus and psoas major.

So what causes injury?

It is well known that marathons causes injuries especially for people doing it for the first time.

As we have seen the hunting and speed style of the past might carry over into how we react ad move today and we can relate this to our body structure. However, another sports scientist, Burnfoot (2014), found that first time marathon runners don’t suffer form knee damage due to repetitive use. Germany’s Freiburg university hospital measured the runners cartilage before the start of their training program and immediately after their first marathon and found that there was no depletion in the cartilage. So this research shows that the structure of the body is not the problem.

So we know that there isn’t a fault in the human body, but what else could it be? Let’s say you run step by step, over and over again, covering 20 – 80 miles in a week. What could go wrong? Well if that first step is wrong and putting unnecessary strain on your body, guess what happens when you do that step 100 to 1000 of times over and over? This is how niggles develop. So lets start by getting that first step right. We can do that through specific strength training – which we’ll get to grips with in my next post – so don’t forget to follow my blog to get the updates.

In the meantime, if you are suffering from any running related injuries and want to get them sorted then book up a consultation, or let me know your experiences in the comments below.

Welcome

Welcome to my blog and thanks for finding the time to read it.

My name is Tom, I am a sports therapist I work and run a clinic in south east London.

A lot of people and professionals believe that sports therapy is just for rehabilitation. So I want to show what my industry can do and how it can be applied to you in a multitude of ways, whether it’s prevention or pre-event, inter-event or post-event massage, and what to expect and why. I’ll also take a look at what the therapist hopes to achieve by these treatments and exercises.

My main goal is to introduce you to an awareness of your body. This will include a little bit of my own philosophy of movement and healthy living, backed with a lot of research. My passion lies in what I do and I wish to share that with you.

How? What? When and why? I find myself exploring these questions every day in every treatment. It makes me want to take every article, and then right back to where this question first became a question – the genesis – because only then, do I believe the right answers can be found.

There’s lots of information on how to prevent injuries from occurring and I’ll explore some helpful tips on how to exercise and what to expect if you do get injured. And if you don’t do sport – well, that’s fine too. While practising, I’ve found that injuries can occur in all circumstances: the office or just day to day lifestyle. Being an avid sportsman, I know how to overcome many injuries and address how they occur from my own personal experience. In fact, if I had to list all of the injuries I’ve had, the list would probably shock you (one of the reasons I became a sports therapist).

I want to make sure that everything I write can be applied to your situation. So if you want me to talk about ideas on how sports therapy can be applied to a sport, or concerns on a general injury, then leave a comment or better yet contact me!

My main aim is to improve myself, and in doing so share that with you and improve your life, so if you want to leave positive comments or constructive criticism I really appreciate because only then I can improve and I can tailor my article to what you are looking for.