Sports injuries are common, especially in contact sports where bruises and strains are part and parcel of everyday life. The nature of professional sports is so intense and frantic today that injuries are almost inevitable; to address this, osteopathy has emerged as an important component of the condition process; for example, the number of sport clubs employing an osteopath has increased significantly in recent years. Professional sports players depend on osteopathic treatment as a means of keeping their bodies in optimum physical shape as well as a way to heal or ease existing conditions.
But sport is not just about professionals.It is common to feel some minor discomfort after training, as the body takes a little time to recover and adapt to the demands of your activities. Soreness often quickly resolves itself, but occasionally it may persist for more than a few days or make it difﬁcult for you to continue your normal activities. In these instances, you may want to seek advice from an osteopath.
Osteopathic care is based on the individual needs of the patient and so varies depending on your age, ﬁtness levels and diagnosis.
Osteopaths use a wide range of gentle hands-on techniques that focus on releasing tension, stretching muscles and mobilising joints. These are often used with exercise and helpful advice, together with strapping or taping, all of which are designed to relieve your pain, help you return to your normal activity levels and maintain the best of health.
As well as treating your injuries, your osteopath may offer you advice about optimal nutrition or suggest a sportspeciﬁc diet.
Common sports injuries include strains and sprains, which affect the tendons, muscles and ligaments as well as swelling, bruising and areas of muscular pain or aching.
Osteopathy identifies problems relating to the muscles, bones and tissues; this broad approach helps to identify wider issues which can contribute to localised pain or specific complaints.
In sport, osteopathy is often used as a preventive measure in order to keep the body in optimum condition and to reduce the risk of injury in the future. This is achieved by keeping the muscles loose and warm prior to a game or match and allowing the muscles to relax and cool at the end; massage is often used to ensure the muscles are relaxed.
Repetitive strain injuries such as tennis elbow are caused by prolonged strain on a particular muscle or tendon; these injuries are not exclusive to tennis and can also be experienced in other racquet sports as well as non-sporting activities including gardening, typing and playing a musical instrument. Treatment for repetitive strain injuries often involve massage, mobilisation of the joints, acupuncture, Kinesio-taping, specialised stretching and strengthening routines; these can often be carried out at home.
Injuries related to long distance running often include inflamed tendons, shin splints and aches and pains, particularly in the hamstrings and the back. Osteopathy can stretch and condition the muscles and ease the pain; a routine of stretches to carry out at home can also be recommended.
The good news is that although sports injuries are common, those who are active and have experience of following exercise routines may ﬁnd they recover more quickly and easily from their injuries.