Focus On: Sports Injuries
The term Sports Injury covers a multitude of injuries caused by particpation in sport which tend to fall under 2 main categories:
- Acute Injuries - Injuries caused by a single traumatic event like fractures, dislocations, sprains and strains.
- Over-use Injuries - Injuries caused by repetitive micro trauma to tendons, bones and joints like tennis elbow, shin splints, runners knee and achilles tendinitis.
Overuse injuries are more common than acute injuries and as they are more subtle and develop over time, they are harder to diagnose and treat.
What are the most common sports injuries?
• Ankle sprain
• Groin pull
• Hamstring strain
• Shin splints
• Knee injury: ACL tear
• Patellofemoral syndrome (resulting from movement of the kneecap against the thigh bone)
• Tennis elbow (epicondylitis)
What are the benefits of hydrotherapy?
Buoyancy offloads pressure from the injured area, enabling you to perform movements with reduced pain
Reduce swelling and bruising
Hydrostatic pressure and our specific water temperature increases circulation and reduces swelling
Immediate exercise, without putting stress on joints or injuries
Cardio-vascular fitness can be maintained and the affected muscle effectively strengthened or lengthened. This enables the athlete to perform activities such as running much earlier than on land
Quicker return to sport
The timeline for returning to sport after a serious sports injury using land-based therapies can be 6-9 months, however utilizing the pool tends to help keep your return closer to 4-6; this is due to being able to reinforce neuromuscular recruitment patterns earlier than is possible with land therapy.
Rehabilitation for Sports Injury
There are typically four phases to your rehabilitation, with a hydrotherapy pool playing an important role in each phase.
From 0-6 weeks in to a sports injury (for example a sprain, pull or ligament tear) the muscles surrounding your joint can be effectively and safely strengthened to support it. These initial stages may involve gait re-education and balance exercises, depending on your injury. Your affected joint or injured tissue will also benefit from reduced load, increased range of movement as well as a reduction in swelling and pain in these initial stages of rehabilitation. Water naturally has pressurising qualities that can help reduce oedema and swelling, as well as helping to improve blood flow and lymphatic drainage, effectively encouraging the healing process for tissue repair.
From 7-12 weeks, strengthening exercises take centre stage, as well as a focus on decreasing any lingering pain and swelling, achieving full range of motion, and returning to normal strength. The waters drag combined with our state of the art under water current machine provides for a safe way to increase resistance against your movement to help improve the strength of the muscles supporting the affected joint. You will also improve proprioceptive feedback in these stages to help prevent re-injury.
From 3-4 months our highly qualified physiotherapists will work with you to refine motor control activities and functional strengthening until you are able to transition to land. Functional strengthening in a safe low-impact environment will ensure you are prepared to return to your previous level of function on land, as well as to maintain and often improve your cardiovascular ability!
4+ months see you returning to your sport specific activities if you are rehabilitating a sporting injury, and will see you performing higher level sprinting and agility drills and practising efficient firing patterns. This will ensure you’re properly recruiting muscle fibres and are ready to perform at your best.