Tim Barnwell an APA Sports Physiotherapist at Southcare Physiotherapy says physiotherapists can diagnose and treat sports injuries to ensure a fast and effective recovery so that time off the field is limited.
“It is important to remember that the earlier a person seeks treatment on an injury the more likely they are to have a faster recovery,” says Mr Barnwell.
What should you do when an injury first occurs? The first step is to remember the acronym RICER.
• Rest – stop playing the sport and protect the injured body part.
• Ice – apply ice to the effected region for 10 to 15 minutes and then reapply two hours later. Do this for a maximum of 72 hours after the injury.
• Compression – if the injury has occurred to an arm or a leg apply compression around the area to minimise swelling.
• Elevation – elevate the effected region above the level of the heart to reduce the swelling.
• Refer – seek appropriate medical advice.
Mr Barnwell says whether you visit the emergency department or the physiotherapist will depend on the severity of the injury.
“For example, if a player twists his ankle at football and another player falls across his leg and there is a loud crack, this can lead to a number of different diagnoses,” says Mr Barnwell.
“If the player is unable to put weight on the leg and there is a large amount swelling, it might be a broken bone and a trip to the Emergency Department would be warranted.”
“However, if the player is able to walk but there is some pain and swelling then a trip to the physiotherapist would be a good idea.”
Overall, good early management of a sporting injury will lead to a better long term outcome and a swift return to the sporting field.