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Sports physiotherapists and soft tissue/massage therapists work together to deliver a range of services to athletes and sports. The overarching aim is to facilitate performance success. At the highest sporting level at the Australian Institute of Sport, these services are delivered as part of a collaborative approach in conjunction with other sports science and sports medicine disciplines. In addition to treating injured athletes, therapists contribute to performance through assisting injury prevention, recovery and improving sport specific movement functions.
All athletes appreciate that some pain can be a normal experience associated with sporting activities. However sometimes pain can be more than training soreness, and can be a symptom of injury.
It is the role of sport physiotherapist and sports doctors to accurately diagnose injuries and guide the best possible return to sport.
This requires close consultation with the athlete to consider the potential risks relative to the athlete’s goals. After a diagnosis has been made, physiotherapists and soft tissue therapists work together to improve pain, movement, function, and the underlying healing environment. Manual treatment techniques are used in association with education, exercise therapy and other treatment modalities (needling, electrotherapy etc.).
As well as good nutrition, a good warm down and appropriate recovery strategies (including compression garments), massage is utilized for improving recovery between some of the more taxing sessions.
Sports massage is usually seen as most effective if there is no existing injury or pain, and can help athletes generally perform better at their next session.
Physiotherapy also assesses to identify potential factors contributing to areas of pain or immobility for the athlete. They can advise on effective strategies to manage the symptoms, and address the causes.
Therapies such massage and physio can help you with your performance goals.
The best performing athletes are those who prepare well, by being able to effectively complete their training to their best potential. Practitioners work to ensure athletes can train maximally, with minimal limitations.
Massage has been shown in both anaerobic and aerobic training to improve recovery and performance, and is constantly used for athletes to get the absolute most out of their bodies.
Some athletes feel like they have an injury list longer than a shopping list! This can be frustrating for the athletes and practitioners alike, but the challenge of continuing to improve as an athlete means pushing boundaries. Understanding your injury and where it’s coming from is such an important part of addressing the cause to prevent recurrence and identify any opportunities to enhance performance.
Training load is a vitally important part of management at any level.
A treatment plan and long-term approach to an injury is the most effective process for athletes and non-athletes alike. Whether it be recovering from a two week ankle sprain, or a season ending ACL reconstructive surgery, questions that should be asked by you and your practitioner are:
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