Sports physiotherapy is a branch of sports medicine that treats, recovers and seeks to prevent injuries caused by physical exercise. Professionals specialized in this area aim to provide a return to physical activity in the shortest possible time.
The sports physiotherapist does not only work on the recovery and follow-up of the injured patient. One of its functions in this area is to prepare athletes for competitions, helping to prevent injuries and pain. The prevention work carried out by the sports physiotherapy professional goes beyond, and includes monitoring, in order to avoid the return of dislocations, tendonitis, sprains, ligament injuries and fractures.
The main objectives of Sports Physiotherapy are:
- Injury prevention;
- Optimization of function and contribution to better sports performance for athletes of all ages and different levels.
The practice of sports, when done without professional control or guidance, can lead to injuries, turning what should be beneficial into a big problem. In some cases, it can even jeopardize the normal performance of daily activities.
Among the most common injuries, the following stand out:
- Stress fractures;
- Muscle injuries;
- Plantar fasciitis.
As a result of this scenario, Physiotherapy appears as a great ally, acting in the prevention and rehabilitation of these injuries.
Sports Physiotherapy Intervention
The sports physiotherapist is a specialist who works at various stages of sports activity. Its performance includes:
- Screening, counseling, prevention and treatment of injuries of a traumatological and orthopedic nature;
- Appropriate warm-up, stretching, flexibility, and strengthening exercise programs;
- Fixed assets with therapeutic or preventive purposes;
- Selection of suitable materials for sports, such as choosing shoes;
- Care plans and progressive integration into sports activity.
After Injury Recovery
To safely resume sporting activity, it is not enough to be fully recovered from your injury. It is essential to regain strength, flexibility, mobility, balance, coordination and emotional security for a healthy practice of physical exercise.
Treatments performed by the sports physiotherapy professional
Through an assessment that takes into account the location of the injury, the type of sport played and the patient’s needs, the physiotherapist defines the tools that will be used to treat the injury.
One of the reasons for the increasing importance of Sports Physical Therapy in the current scenario is the variety of treatments that can be applied. Thus, it is possible to identify the best solutions for each patient, ensuring the most efficient treatment for the recovery of an injury or for improving performance.
These are some of the most common and efficient treatments in the work of preventing and treating dislocations, sprains, tendonitis and other injuries:
One of the most traditional methods of treatment in physical therapy — and it’s no different when we take it into sport — is manual therapy. The objective is to solve a discomfort, strengthen a region, correct postural and biomechanical imbalances, or understand the relationship between an injury and a muscle through specific manual techniques.
This method is used to facilitate the patient’s understanding and body awareness, allowing him to better deal with the relationship between mind and body. From low-impact and less intense exercises, it is possible to correct posture problems or assist in the treatment of injuries and/or trauma.
By applying electrical currents to the body, it is possible to strengthen or relax muscles, reduce edema and even provide an analgesic effect. There are several types of application within this method, each one according to the patient’s situation and objective, but always producing an effect on the region to be treated.
Improved blood flow, muscle relaxation and even pain relief after physical activity are the main goals of massage therapy within Sports Physiotherapy. This is a type of massage that focuses more than just relaxation, it can prevent injuries and relieve muscle pain.
In addition to these 4 working methods within Sports Physical Therapy, other techniques and practices are very efficient in the search for injury prevention and recovery:
- EMG biofeedback;
- segmental stabilization;
- functional bandages;
It must be remembered that each of these methods has a specific purpose and use, with different approaches to solving a problem. Therefore, it is important to always take into account the structure available in your work environment and, even more fundamentally, the profile of each of your patients.