Whether you are an elite athlete or a social player, Osteopathy, Bowen Therapy and Remedial Massage can help with the treatment and prevention of many sporting injuries. Most sports place an enormous amount of pressure on our joints, bones and muscles. Whilst our bodies do a great job in self-recovery, some strains and tensions can linger in our tissues which can impede our normal range of motion and affect performance. Our practitioners are trained to thoroughly assess, diagnose and treat all types of sporting injuries and will refer for further investigation where indicated.
Common injuries we see include:
- Ankle and foot pain (ankle sprains, achilles tendinitis, heel pain, plantar fasciitis)
- Knee pain (ligament sprains, patella tracking disorder, runners knee)
- Hip and groin pain (impingement, bursitis, general tightness, hamstring injuries)
- Lower back and pelvic pain (glute tightness, sciatica)
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain (impingement, rotator cuff injuries, bursitis)
- Elbow pain (tennis elbow, golfers elbow)
- Wrist pain
- Overuse injuries
- Post-surgical recovery and rehabilitation
- Joint sprains
- Muscle tightness, strains and tears
- Tendon injuries
- Postural imbalances due to suboptimal movement patterns
Our practitioners are trained to thoroughly assess, diagnose and treat all types of sporting injuries and will refer for further investigation when indicated. We will also assess other areas of your body to determine whether there are any underlying postural strains or movement patterns that may have contributed to your injury before devising a treatment plan that in most cases will involve a combination of hands on treatment and rehabilitation exercises.
All of our practitioners enjoy keeping fit and active with all sorts of activities ranging from surfing, hiking, football, soccer, cricket, tennis, strength training, stand up paddle boarding and yoga and pilates – so you can be sure you are working with people who understand the demands sport and fitness place on your body.
What is the difference between acute and chronic injuries?
An acute injury is a sudden injury that is normally associated with a traumatic event such as being knocked by another player, a sudden change of direction or a fall. Depending on the impact, this type of injury may result in broken bones or muscle and ligament tears. Often, the immediate response from the injured tissues is sharp pain, swelling, inflammation, bruising and loss of function in the affected area. If you suspect you may have a broken bone, joint dislocation or severe muscle injury you should see a doctor as soon as possible as you will require urgent medical care.
Chronic injuries are also known as overuse injuries as they are often caused by overuse of a particular body part. These injuries tend to develop slowly and stick around for a long time. Unlike acute injuries their symptoms are mild, subtle and often vague. Rather than feeling pain, many people will refer to these types of injuries as ‘discomfort’, ‘tightness’ or ‘small niggles’. Consequently many of us ignore these symptoms until the initial discomfort spreads to other areas of the body or develops into a debilitating injury.
Overuse injuries are common when we begin a new exercise routine (trying to do too much too soon!) or when we are established in our routines but are performing too many repetitive tasks without adequate time for tissue repair (this is also known as overtraining). Common symptoms of chronic injuries include pain when you play, swelling following activity or exercise and a dull ache that is present when resting.
When Should I See An Osteopath?
Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation are all great in terms of initial first-aid that immediately follows the injury and will usually suffice for minor injuries. In the case of more serious injuries, or when symptoms persist we recommend seeing your osteopath so they can professionally assess your injury and help manage your recovery.
For all injuries, managing the pain, swelling and inflammation are essential in order to restore function and proprioception to the affected tissues. For chronic injuries it is also important to find the underlying cause of the injury so that it doesn’t reoccur in the future. Our osteopaths are able to provide advice on appropriate exercise, posture, footwear and equipment to assist in your rehabilitation so you can get back to playing the sport you love.
Children & Teenagers
Just like adults, children and teenagers are susceptible to acute and chronic injury through sport. The difference in children however, is that an injury to a muscle, bone or joint that is still maturing can affect the overall strength, balance and flexibility of their growing bodies. Talented young athletes are particularly vulnerable to overuse injuries through increased demands in training and competition. Schools, coaches and representative leagues can inadvertently over-play and over-train kids without fully understanding the risks involved with overloading young athletes.
Sometimes children’s muscles and bones can grow at an uneven rate, causing the tight muscles to pull on the attached bone leading pain and swelling which is exacerbated by exercise. Two of the most common conditions in this category are Osgood-Schlatters disease (which affects the knee) and Severs disease (which affects the heel).
Extra care needs to be taken with young bodies to ensure they achieve optimal growth and development. Our osteopaths understand the needs of a growing body and have many years of experience working with children and sporting injuries.
Some injuries are unavoidable, however there are a number strategies that we can use to decrease the likelihood of some injuries occurring during sport and exercise:
- Adequately address past injuries – The risk of sustaining an injury in the same area as where a previous injury occurred is very high. This is because most injuries are not fully rehabilitated. Once the pain has gone and we can return to our normal activities we tend to forget about our injury and move on but often we are left with deficits in strength, range of motion, muscle tone and balance that leave us vulnerable to subsequent injuries down the track. Getting these imbalances fixed can prevent unnecessary injuries from occurring in the future.
- Use appropriate equipment – Are your running shoes old? Is your bike set up properly? Do your shin guards fit correctly? Avoiding inappropriate equipment and using the appropriate equipment correctly is really important when it comes to injury prevention. Old, worn out equipment should be replaced with new equipment that is adequately fitted and suitable for your needs. Ill-fitting and inappropriate equipment can result in small biomechanical and postural changes that often lead to chronic injury.
- Start slow and increase your workload gradually – Going to hard, too fast is one of the most common causes of injury for all athletes. Starting a new sport can be exciting and invigorating but you need to give yourself time to gradually ease into things otherwise you may find your body is overloaded with stress and unable to handle the increased demands placed on it. Likewise, when it’s time to increase your workload, the same principle applies. Your bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons need time to adapt to the new physical requirements.
- Warm Up and Cool Down – A warm up should increase your body temperature, elevate your heart rate, loosen your joints and muscles and stimulate your brain into activating the movement patterns needed for the activity you’re about to perform. A cool down can help your body transition from high-intensity activity to a comfortable resting state with activities that gradually lower your heart rate and stretch out muscles that have been worked on or held in sustained contractions.
- Stretch – Improving flexibility in your muscles and joints is just as important as building strength and control. Post-exercise stretching can helps restore your resting muscle length which decreases the load through your tendons which is important in preventing overuse injuries such as tendonopathy. Stretching should never be painful and stretching and injured muscle has the potential to cause further damage. Although there are many benefits associated with stretching there are also risks so it’s important that you have a discussion with your osteopath before starting any new stretches.
- Rest – Your body needs time to rest between exercising so that it has time to completely recover before more load is placed on it. Our bodies do most of our rest and recovery while we sleep so try to aim for at least 8 hours of good quality sleep each night.
- Fuel your body – Food provides the building blocks for a body that is fit, healthy and able to perform at its best. Think about the food you put in your mouth and whether it is the best option for your overall health. Natural foods such as vegetables, meats, fruits, nuts and seeds provide an abundance of nutrients that help our body perform at it’s peak and adequately recover from injury. Sugar and processed foods are highly inflammatory for your joints and muscles and are best avoided.