The Importance Of Physiotherapy For Sports Injuries

Have you seen a physio before? I have to be honest and say that I personally hadn’t. That is why most of the physio-related articles on this blog are guest posts. So today, I’ll be attempting to synthesize my limited knowledge of this issue and address how physio can help with healing sports injuries.

To me, the most common place I encounter the term physiotherapy is in the arena of sports and physical activity. When athletes have sports injuries, they typically get sent to the physio for rehabilitation. Some teams also have their own physio!  Physiotherapy, also called physical therapy, offers help to the athlete, whether they need to have surgery or otherwise. Before we proceed, get a copy of the Lifelong Fitness Blueprint. It’ll help you heaps.

One example, and one might say the most common of the many sports injuries is an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.  Since it is so common, most of us know at least that that is a knee injury. Due to how motion and mobility works, it is unsurprising that this affects all kinds of athletes, some of which include hockey, skating, skiing, basketball, and of course, football.  It can limit the range of a player’s motion in that leg. ACL injuries usually weaken the knees to a severe extent.

So what can be done about sports injuries. Well, surgery is always the most effective. However, at a lesser level, physiotherapy is always a part of the treatment.  In the specific case of ACL injuries, the three major exercises at the beginning of the healing process are heel slides, quad sets, and straight leg raises. Let’s go through them to get an idea of how it works.

Firstly, heel slides are easy to understand, but may be painful to do at first. Picture this: The athlete simply lies on the bed or floor with the foot down. After that, they will slide the foot slowly towards the buttocks until it hurts a little, and then slide it back. It is the repetition and low intensity that starts the healing process.

Apart from ACL, another common injury that physiotherapy can be used for is “tennis elbow”. Just like the name suggests, it is more common in tennis players. However, this can affect anyone who uses their wrist often as part of their sport. Just like with ACL injuries, tennis elbow is treated with a comprehensive plan of physiotherapy.


As unusual as it sounds to some, sports injuries may also use ultrasound.  Ultrasound to apply heat deep into the muscle for pain relief. Then there is the matter of pain management, hopefully without pills. Electrical stimulation is sometimes used to keep pain from being felt through the nervous system.

Then there is massage therapy, which is known to be very common. Massage is one of the forms of soft tissue manipulation. Soft tissue manipulation is to muscles what chiropractic is to bones. Not only does it deal with muscle, it deals with tendons and connective tissue as well.  It is a specialised field of physiotherapy that has been used for people with sports injuries on many occasions. Neat, huh?

Now to a more serious note! You know how more children are being involved in sport and it’s getting more competitive, right? The sad reality is that sometimes parents who have the best of intention may tell the child to “shake off” injuries and keep on participating. Of course, some parents go to the other extreme, but isn’t it better to err on the side of caution? Furthermore, since children are still growing, it is more important to ensure irreversible damage does not occur.

In summary, physiotherapy is a very important step with rehabilitation of many sports injuries. The importance of this cannot be understated. Whether one is an athlete or not, ignoring sports injuries are always a recipe for disaster. Don’t wait till it’s irreversible. If you have sustained a sprain, strain, or some other pain that is potentially worse, go and consult a physio pronto!

Once you clear the injury:


Also published on Medium.

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