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Sports Injury Rehabilitation – Sports Performance & Injury Prevention

In our previous post, we discussed the mid two stages of Sports Injury Rehabilitation – Functional Rehabilitation and Sports-specific Rehabilitation. In this post, we will discuss the last two stages, Sports Performance and Injury Prevention.

Sports Performance

Sports performance is mostly focused on improving the physical attributes associated with your

current sport, whether it be strength, power, muscular endurance, core strength, rotational strength, speed, agility, reaction time, balance etc. This might include dynamic conditioning drills to improve aspects such as speed and stability through sports-specific movement, or strength exercises to improve explosive power during short bouts of sprinting.

As no two sports are exactly the same, no two performance programs should be exactly the same. Although many sports have similar skills or movement patterns that carry across from one to another, each sport still differs in how the body moves to optimise outcome.

For example, although both tennis and soccer players move or respond to a ball coming from different directions, a tennis player will pivot on their back foot and turn their body into the direction of the ball whereas a soccer play will more likely keep their body open when changing direction. Therefore, these slight differences in movement patterns should be taken into account when optimising performance.

Added to this, various roles or positions within sports should also be taken into consideration.

Compare the movements and requirements of a goal keeper versus a midfielder. A GK may need more explosive power in their dominant leg for goal kicks, upper body strength and stability for overarm throws as well as reaction time for saving. This is compared to the midfielder who requires more muscular endurance in their legs, agility and speed for offensive plays and recovery as well as coordination in different areas to receive balls in different ways.

Injury prevention

Injury risk movement screens should be used during this stage (and should also be used throughout), to assess your level of risk of injury and uncover areas needed to improve upon in order to reduce this.

Throughout your rehabilitation process, your program shoulder have included specific corrective exercises for you, based on your problem areas, to improve your level of injury risk.

As previously mentioned, these exercises do not become redundant from stage to stage, rather they are used as exercises to prevent the reoccurrence of the injury or any further others.

Examples of corrective exercises for different sporting injuries or athletes may include: shoulder

rotator cuff exercises for overhead activity athletes, hip stability exercises for lower limb athletes, or flexibility/mobility exercises for athletes with stubborn tight areas that are inhibiting movement.

This stage also involves strength training to reduce the likeliness of your muscles or joints being

overloaded during your sport. This might include, squats, lunges, split squats, calf raises, or various upper body strengthening exercises.

It is also important to realise that although you may teach your athlete to perform their rehabilitation exercises with proper technique and form, they may not actually move with ‘proper form’ during their sport. For example, when a soccer player changes from one direction to another they might move into valgus or valrus knee collapse (knees moving inwards or outwards) in order to propel themselves off into a different direction.

So, although athletes should perform exercises using proper form in order to avoid further injury, they should also possess the capability to move in whatever pattern is necessary for their sport without causing themselves harm.

In conclusion, as you can see, there are many different stages of rehabilitation for the sports injury. Thus, it is important to realise that although you may be ‘pain-free’, there may be several other aspects which will still be at a deficit.

So, whether you currently have a sports injury, have previously suffered from one and may still have some niggles, or if you just want your movement and level of injury risk assessed, we can help!

Contact us today at Infinite Health Chatswood - Physiotherapy, Exercise Physiology and Massage Therapy on 02 9412 2222 to find out how!

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