Sports Injuries


Although regular physical activity and sport participation can have numerous beneficial effects on health, it can come at the expense of an activity-related injury from time to time. Most sports injuries can be classified as either an acute or an overuse injury.

Acute injuries are sudden and usually result from a blow, an awkward landing or over-stretching. Bones can fracture, cartilage can split, joints can dislocate, muscles, tendons, and ligaments can sprain, strain or tear and nerves can be injured. Classic and common examples include a ‘pulled hamstring’, ‘a turned ankle’ or a ‘shoulder that popped out’.

In overuse sports injuries, the onset is more insidious and harder to identify. Over time, a repetitive action can lead to tissue imbalance due to certain muscles shortening and antagonistic (opposite muscles) remaining relatively weak. Consider a golfer who swings away at a ball over a hundred times during a round of golf in one direction, or a rower who only ever rows stroke side, or a runner who pounds away at a concrete pavement over several thousand times in one session.

Such tissue overload may eventually lead to injuries such as stress fractures, osteoarthritis, compartment sydrome or chronic tendon issues.

The initial goal of managing an acute injury is to prevent further damage, rest, ice, compress and elevate (the PRICE protocol) which helps with stemming the inflammation of the injured tissue. Once the initial inflammation has subsided, an Osteopath can help with identifying key areas in the spine and peripheral joints such as the shoulders, hips, knees and ankles that have become over-loaded with stress.

A combination of soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation, muscle stretching and re-balancing exercises can help go a long way to keeping an otherwise fit and active patient off the treatment couch!