Australia is a sports-loving nation, Australia’s mild winters mean that in most parts of Australia, participation in sports can occur all year round. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), over 60% of Australians participate in sports and exercise programs. The 2 most popular sports played are football and netball.
AFL requires such a magnitude of physical attributes and is a contact sport, footballers usually suffer from a wide variety of injuries. Traumatic injuries such as sprained ankles, torn ligaments and meniscus in the knees, hamstring and quadriceps tears, AC joint injuries and dislocated shoulders usually top the list.
Netball is one of the most popular team sports in Australia. Wrist, hand, finger and lower leg injuries occur frequently. The most common types of netball injuries are sprains, bruising, fractures and dislocations. Common causes of injuries are awkward landings, slips and falls, player contact or collision, overexertion, overuse and being hit by the ball.
Osteopathy can play a major role in the management of injuries for footballers and netballers and help get the athlete back to play as soon as possible. Sports osteopathy treatment techniques employed may include:
- Management the acute injury by reducing pain and inflammation
- Soft tissue treatment
- Joint articulation and manipulation
- The use of various electrotherapeutic agents such as interferential, ultrasound, laser, ice and heat
- Bracing and/or taping techniques
- Rehabilitation and core-stability exercises
- A stretching program that is specifically individually tailored
- Exercise prescription of exercises to enhance balance and co-ordination
- Advice of a training program to correct flawed sporting techniques
An Osteopath will advise you on why these injuries are occurring. He/she will then treat the real cause of the problem. Many of these are preventable, given the correct stretching and muscle-balancing exercises. The fear of sustaining a sports injury should not deter someone from participating in winter sport. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the probability of developing heart disease, diabetes, mental illness and many types of cancer (particularly breast and colon cancer). The benefits certainly outweigh the risks.
In order to reduce the risk of a winter sports injury, Osteopaths recommend:
- Get the correct advice on the right activity program for you
- Warm up and cool down
- Have the correct equipment for your activity
- Begin slowly and gradually build up to the challenge
- Keep hydrated
- Listen to your body
- Give yourself one or two recovery days each week
- Rest an injury, don’t try to ‘work through’ the pain
- Progress at your own pace and don’t overdo it
It is advised that you visit with your Osteopath, especially if you have had a previous injury or musculoskeletal condition. Your Osteopath is trained to assess/evaluate your body and offer valuable advice to assist you in preventing winter sports injuries.