Osteopathy and sports
At North Melbourne Osteopathy we treat a wide range of sports athletes from professional sports men and women to weekend ‘warriors’.
We appreciate the frustration that is experienced when an injury occurs and how vital it is to receive the correct diagnosis and prognosis to best treatment and manage your injury.
Our osteopaths treat a wide range of sporting injuries, including:
- Muscle strains to the neck and back.
- Ligament sprains to the ankle and wrist.
- Hip, knee and leg injuries. For example: shin splints, patellar tendonitis, hamstring, groin and calf strains.
- Shoulder and elbow injuries. For example: rotator cuff tendinopathy, tennis and golfers elbow.
- Back spasms.
Consistent with our holistic approach to treatment, our osteopaths not only treat the actual muscle strain or ligament sprain but also look at the underlying cause of the injury and correct any postural or biomechanical imbalance which may have resulted in the injury occurring in the first instance or may have occurred in response to the injury.
A tailored stretching and strengthening program is also provided, enabling a return to your chosen sport as quickly as possible. If required, our osteopaths may refer you for X-ray analysis or to a sports physician for a second opinion.
Return to work and Play after injury
Return to play refers to the point in recovery from an injury when a person is able to go back to playing sports or participate in an activity at a preinjury level.
No one likes to be sidelined with an injury. One of the goals of sports medicine is to try to get an athlete back into action as soon as possible. Returning too soon, before adequate healing or recovery has taken place, can put you at risk for re-injury and possibly an even longer down time.
With the right game plan for sports and work related injuries—from early diagnosis and treatment to full functional rehabilitation—you can often safely accelerate your return to play.
Tips to Speed Your Recovery
- Maintain balanced physical conditioning
- Make sure that injuries are recognized early and treated promptly
- Participate in a full functional rehabilitation program
- Stay fit while injured
- Keep a positive, upbeat mental attitude
Your Recovery Plan
Recovery from an injury involves a series of logical steps from the time of the injury until you are able to be back on the field or work. Each step should be outlined and monitored by your physician and physical therapist.
During the acute phase of injury, the focus should be on minimizing swelling. This involves the RICE formula (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation), along with a limitation of activities. Depending on the type and severity of your injury, treatment may also involve surgery, bracing, or even casting.
During the acute period, it is very important to maintain overall conditioning while the injury heals. Creative techniques can be used to safely work around the injury. For example, a runner with a leg injury can often run in water or use a stationary bicycle to maintain conditioning. Even if one leg is in a cast, the rest of the body can be exercised by performing strength-training exercises. Do not wait until your injury is healed to get back into shape.
In the next phase of recovery, you should work on regaining full motion and strength of the injured limb or joint. Your physician, therapist, or certified athletic trainer will outline an exact plan. For most injuries, gentle protective range-of-motion exercises can be started almost immediately. Muscle tone can be maintained with the use of electrical stimulation or simple strengthening exercises.
When strength returns to normal, functional drills can be started. For lower extremity injuries, this may include brisk walking, jumping rope, hopping, or light jogging. For upper extremity injuries, light throwing or easy ground strokes can be performed. Specific exercises for balance and agility can bring back the coordination that may have been lost in the injury.
Once you have progressed with motion, strength, endurance, and agility, and are tolerating functional drills, you can try higher levels of sport and work-specific movement patterns. This is monitored by your physical therapist or certified athletic trainer. You may find that tape, braces, or supports help during this transition time.
Only when you are practicing hard without significant difficulty, and the healing has progressed to the point where the likelihood of injury or harm is low, are you ready to return to play. During these final phases of recovery, you should be closely monitored. Special attention should be given to adequate warm up prior to the activity and icing after the activity.