Sunday, April 10, 2022

We Don't Just Treat Sports Injuries

Many new patients who call our clinic often tell us that they don't play any sports and wonder if they can still see us. To which we reply, "Most definitely!"

As all our physiotherapists are trained to read your body to ascertain how it's positioned in various postures and during movement. We work like detectives, finding the main cause of your problem. We know exactly what we can change to make a difference to your problem and when we might need to refer a patient out to a specialist e.g. neurosurgeon etc.

We specialize in spinal pain and problems, joint pain, muscle strains, joint sprains, nerve related problems (where you might experience pins and needles, numbness or reduced sensation or strength), headaches, and of course injuries that you sustain during sports.

So exactly how different is a sports physiotherapist and a musculoskeletal (meaning muscle and bones) physiotherapist? Having worked in a professional sports setting, treating elite athletes for 10 years, traveling with Team Singapore athletes to the Olympics, SEA, Commonwealth, Asian Games and others and now being in private practice for 12 years , I will attempt to explain the main differences..

The biggest difference would be the time allocated to the athletes and patients. When treating athletes at a professional level, we may sometimes see the athlete 3 times a day. 

Say we have a badminton player who has a niggle in his foot, we get to experiment with taping the player's foot with rigid or Kinesio tape. How can I change his navicular bone position? That alone may determine how well the player trains that morning. Or, if there's a match later that evening we can trial any tape, shoe, or racket earlier in the week before the actual game. 

Oftentimes, the head coach will request specific sessions with injured players to get them up to speed with recovery.

Taping with rigid tape
In an actual game, the physiotherapist has to be paying attention and watching to get clues about the mechanisms of injury. We often need to assess and treat our player ASAP usually within the minute.  I will have in my kit bag, different types of tapes ready, blister kit. splints, nail cutter, scissors, lotions, painkilling sprays etc. in case I need them. We try to be the 'magic' healer, asking questions, cleaning sweaty areas to treat, to allow them to play again.

Yes, Treating elite athletes can be very time consuming and labor intensive.

In a private practice setting (like Physio Solutions and Sports Solutions), the patients are just as eager to be pain free, to get better and to return to exercise. Unlike a competition setting, we get much more time to ask questions and assess thoroughly. Finding and treating the cause of the problem becomes easier. The hands-on, manual therapy we do has huge benefits in changing a patient's condition. However, we may only get to see patients once or twice a week. 

It is, therefore, important to educate patients on what they have to do in the time between appointments. We may teach them self tests and exercises on e.g. their calf range to see how they're progressing. We are easily contactable via text, email or phone if you need to ask questions between your sessions.

In summary, when you become our patient, WE GOT YOU.

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