The number of professional Football Clubs employing an Osteopath has risen significantly in the last few years.
The osteopathic approach is very well suited to the treatment of footballers. Football injuries occur for many reasons. The unpredictability of what other players might do, the stop-start nature of the game, the rapidly applied multi-directional high loads that are inflicted on the body and the fact that football requires it’s participants to use their bodies in extremely uneconomical ways mean that footballers are inevitably prone to all sorts of musculo-skeletal injuries.
Osteopathy concentrates on the treatment of compromised body mechanics, function and posture. A detailed knowledge and understanding of the structure and function of the human musculo-skeletal system enables the Osteopath to identify problems which have occurred because of injury or mechanical stress and to treat both the symptoms and, more importantly, the underlying causes. This also enable the body to heal itself, thus enhancing performance and minimising the likelihood of recurrence. Whole body considerations are integral to the Osteopath’s approach.
Many patients present with similar football injuries. Most common are due to spending many hours seated, either driving, working and resting. This all leads to altered posture, shortened hamstrings, weakened abdominal muscles and restricted spinal joints.
Common Problems that may suggest visiting an Osteopath.
• Persistent Hamstring or Calf strains
• Low back pain after games
• Injuries that do not go away
• Recurring Achilles problems
• Constant knee problems
Typical Case History
A footballer had been suffering from recurrent hamstring problems. He had had many other treatment, yet the problems persisted. After a whole body “Osteopathic” assessment had been done it transpired that the nerve supply to the hamstrings was being compromised. This was due to a leg length difference which led to the patient constantly bending that particular knee. Due to a lack of rotation function in the Thoraco-lumbar vertebrae, each time the patient took extra long strides when playing football there was little or no compensation. Thus, the particular hamstrings overstretched regularly.
How did Osteopathy help? One of the particular skills of the Osteopath is the ability to assess and address the underlying causes of a musckulo-skeletal problem. The treatment of complex non-resolving and recurrent injuries is especially suited to the Osteopathic approach. Assessing the interaction between the different tissues that determine a body’s structure enables an Osteopath to anticipate potential problems and provide treatment to prevent injuries which that player’s individual development and mechanics has predisposed them towards.
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