Frequently asked questions

What is Sports Therapy?

Sports Therapy is an aspect of healthcare that is concerned with the rehabilitation of patients back to their optimum level of furnctional, occupational and sports specific fitness - regardless of the patient's age and ability. It also specifically focuses on injury causation and how further injury of the patient may be prevented.

How does Sports Therapy differ from Physiotherapy?

Both Sports Therapists and Physiotherapists will have undergone extensive training and both have governing bodies that practitioners should be registered with to verify that they have fulfilled the relevant competency criteria and maintained their level of knowledge through continued professional development. A sports therapist's training is specifically focused on the diagnosis, treatment and exercise rehabiliation of musculoskeletal injuries. This provides them with the relevant skills to practice in a private clinic or sports environment. The training undertaken by a physiotherpist includes neurological and cardio respiratory issues. Not all physios will be sports specialists and may choose to work in a hospital environment.

How soon should I see a Sports Therapist after injury?

Ideally you should make an appointment for as soon as possible after an injury has occurred so that you may receive the necessary advice and treatment to help optimise your recovery and return to activity. However, we all know that in the real world this is not always possible and some injuries are insidious and do not really get your attention until they have in fact become quite chronic and long standing issues that you have ‘put up with’. As a general rule of thumb, book an appointment as soon as you are able to. In the interim, avoid activities that cause pain – this is the body’s way of telling you that you are causing damage, whilst continuing to move within pain free limits to maintain blood flow and facilitate repair. If the injury is red / hot / swollen and/or painful it is likely to be inflamed. Take the following action as soon as possible, to try to limit the inflammation as this could impact on the speed and the way in which the injury will ultimately heal. This can be easily remembered as the rule of the POLICE
POL Protect the injury from further damage whilst continuing to optimally load it i.e. move within pain free movements
I – Ice the area to reduce pain. If the pain is deep in a large muscle area e.g. the front of the thigh (quadriceps muscle) apply ice (ice pack / pack of frozen peas) wrapped in a tea towel or similar (never placed directly onto the skin). Leaver the ice on for up to 20 mins and repeat every couple of hours you are able to over the first 48 hours. If it is affecting a more superficial area e.g. the ankle or Achilles tendon apply ice for 5-10 mins at a time, again as often as possible over the first 48 hours or so.
C - Compress the affected area to limit swelling. Use an elastic ‘tubigrip’ type support or bandage, making sure it is not too tight to cause pins and needles or numbness.
E – Elevate the injury site where possible e.g. if it is a limb, above heart height to help reduce excessive blood flow to the area.

Do all injuries require rest until they heal?

Absolutely not. Contrary to previous belief, it is now apparent that soft tissue injuries will actually heal faster and more effectively if they are subjected to optimal loading throughout the recovery period. This means keeping them mobile / using the affected muscles but always WITHIN PAIN FREE LIMITS. So if you have a shoulder injury which means it is extremely painful to raise your arm up above 90o, work on keeping it moving below and up to this level.

Why is it good to ice an injury?

Ice applied to an injury site will cause local vasoconstriction i.e. it acts to reduce the blood supply to the affected area. This results in a cooling of the local tissues and the sensory effect of this is that the body is less able to process messages of pain from the injury site i.e. it reduces pain.
Tissue cooling, in turn, also reduces the metabolism of surviving cells and their demand for oxygen and thereby ice can help reduce further tissue cell death.
After a short while with the ice applied, the body tries to even out the temperature difference across the tissues and a reaction takes place to increase blood flow to the deeper tissues. Alternate phases of auto constriction and dilation then begin to take place which has a ‘flushing’ effect on the tissues – removing excess tissue fluid and metabolites and providing nutrients and oxygen to the injury site to reduce swelling and promote tissue repair.

Is it good to have a hot bath if you have muscle pain?

With any muscle injury there will be small amounts of bleeding within the muscle and even potentially inflammation. Any form of heat will increas blood flow to the area and in turn increase the amount of bleeding and inflammation that occurs - so best to avoid hot baths for the first 48 hours after a muscle injury. With more chronic issues, warm oat packs or hot water bottles placed on aching / sore muscles may be a good way to help them relax and thereby reduce pain

Why should you have a glass of water after a sports massage?

Massage increases blood flow and lymphatic drainage as it helps to rid the body of waste products and 'debris' Having a glass of water after a treatment helps to flush these toxins out of your system.