Sports Injury

Muscle Injury

Image of soccer goalkeeper cathcing ball in mid-air

Strains of the groin, hamstring and calf are the most common sites of muscle strain osteopaths see associated with sports.

Most of these injuries are mild but can become chronic if not treated or continually aggravated by training, playing or competing.

Deep tissue massage usually alleviates the pain and improves muscle function, but it is also important to investigate any reasons for the problem developing in the first place. Hamstring strains for example are often associated with restricted movement of the pelvic or lower back joints which may not cause any symptoms in themselves but may continually tighten the muscle and put it under so much strain that even light training may reproduce the problem. Osteopaths can increase joint mobility and improve function in order to avoid excessive strain on the symptomatic area.  

Ligament Injury

Ligaments generally run from one bone to another providing more stability to the joints they cross whilst still allowing the joint to move freely.

Ligament injuries usually occur when the joint is forced further than its normal range of movement and are most common at the knee and ankle.

Injuries are graded by their severity depending on the amount of damage to the fibres. With less severe damage the joint remains stable and with treatment will usually recover fully, however severe cases with 50% or more of the ligament fibres torn will cause instability of the joint and may require much more rehabilitation, and even surgery in extreme cases. In most cases even when damage is more severe your osteopath can advise on rest time, activity levels,  protective exercises and can stabilise the area initially (if necessary) using taping and strapping techniques.           

Tendon Injury

Common at the shoulder (e.g. supraspinatus) and at the calf/heel (e.g. the Achilles).

Initially pain is felt during and after exercise.

Often due to continued training and /or lack of treatment a chronic condition develops where the pain seems to be better during warm up and initial exercise. This is often, wrongly, assumed to be an improvement and continued training can aggravate the problem further. Rest at this stage can take much longer to produce any benefits and even with treatment can be very stubborn leading to tremendous frustration at not being able to train or compete.

Needless to say the earlier the earlier the problems are addressed the faster and more full the recovery, and during the very early stages advice from your osteopath on footwear, warm up/ down and training regimes can often make a huge difference without requiring intensive or lengthy treatment.

 Cartilage/ Meniscal Injury

Damage to the fibrocartilage is a common sports injury at the knee, where it also commonly involves damage to the ligaments. In sever cases surgery may be required to remove loose cartilage which has become detached from the bone and is irritating the joint producing pain and swelling. More minor damage will benefit from early advice on how to reduce swelling/inflammation, rest and activity levels and also advice on getting back to training and protective exercises in order to prevent reoccurrence. Your osteopath will also look at the rest of the body and how you're using it to make sure no undue pressure is being put upon the injured area.