For many of us, exercise is part of our everyday lives and we benefit from it in terms of our general health and well-being. However, taking exercise can put us at greater risk of injury. The role of an osteopath in relation to sports injuries is two-fold: prevention and treatment:

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Prevention

Osteopaths are particularly well suited to helping prevent injuries because of our understanding of how the body works as a whole and how a dysfunction in one area can make injury in another more likely. It is well worth having an osteopathic assessment if you are involved in sport in order to identify any of these potential problem areas. As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure.

Here is some general advice to help prevent injuries:

Exercise appropriately for your current level of fitness. This is particularly important when returning to sport as your expectations of yourself may be too great. Begin slowly and build up, especially after an injury. Warm up first, and then warm down with stretches afterwards. Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercising. Exercise regularly, and try to vary the type of exercise you do. Make sure that your equipment is suitable. For example, ill-fitting or inappropriate footwear can cause lower limb injuries such as Achilles tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis.

Treatment

By combining our knowledge of what happens in specific sports injuries with the methods of assessment and treatment outlined in the What we do section of this website, we are able to restore structural balance, improve joint mobility and muscular suppleness in order that the body’s inherent drive towards recovery can go on unimpeded. This includes advice about changes to your nutritional and exercise that will help you towards a full recovery. In the immediate aftermath of an injury the main aim is to control the bodies inflammatory response.

The best actions to take can be remembered with the acronym RICE:

Rest – Activity at this stage will make the injury more inflamed and could cause more damage
Ice – It is very useful to apply an ice pack (frozen peas will do) wrapped in a tea towel to the area for 10 minutes hourly as regularly as possible
Compression – Bandaging the injured area will help to reduce the swelling
Elevation – This will help drainage and so help to reduce the swelling

The next steps to take are more specific to exactly what injury you have and will be identified once you have been able to come in for an appointment.

Sports related complaints commonly treated:

  • Low back strain (with or without sciatica)
  • Neck strain
  • Muscle strains – most commonly hamstring, calf, and groin
  • Ligament sprains – most commonly knee, ankle and wrist
  • Cartilage tears – most commonly the knee but also the shoulder and hip
  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome (knee cap pain)
  • Plantar fasciitis Achilles tendinopathy (tendinitis)
  • Tenosynovitis at the wrist, thumb and ankle
  • Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
  • Medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow)
  • Jumper’s knee
  • Rotator cuff dysfunction of the shoulder
  • Functional complaints such as issues relating to flexibility and freedom of movement