Physiotherapists call for athletes of all levels to take active steps towards injury prevention

1 February 2018 - for immediate release

 

After a string of high-profile injuries among Australian Open stars, the Australian Physiotherapy Association is reminding athletes of all levels to take proactive steps towards injury prevention.


Sport injuries don’t discriminate—they occur everywhere from local sporting clubs and backyard games right through to the international stage.


The difference is that professional athletes have the support of a team of medical staff helping to monitor their performance and potential injury concerns. So how can the everyday athlete take steps towards injury prevention?


‘If you’re starting a new sport or exercise program, or returning after some time away, be sure to ease into it and avoid doing too much too soon,’ says Holly Brasher, National Chair of the Australian Physiotherapy Association Sports group.


‘Overuse injuries are common among athletes as they are often related to the load a tissue is placed under. Higher loads, often a result of repetitive movements—think running, kicking or shoulder rotations for sports like tennis and swimming—can have detrimental effects on unprepared or overworked tissues such as muscles and tendons.’


Overuse injuries can be hard to recognise at first, as they often begin with a dull ache or niggle and generally see a gradual onset of pain, rather than the instant pain that comes with acute injuries—but they can quickly progress to more serious concerns if they are ignored.


Gradually increasing the intensity and frequency of exercise over time is important to build up strength and endurance.


Taking the time to go through a proper warm up before any session and paying attention to technique are other important steps to take for injury prevention.


A physiotherapist can also help minimise potential risks or vulnerabilities before injuries have the chance to appear, by providing tailored exercises to address areas of concern, previous injuries, and the muscles and movements needed for a specific sport.


Of course, like many things, these issues are often harder to manage with age, particularly for those who have had previous injury troubles. Research shows that the biggest risk of injury is having sustained an injury in that area previously.


‘Just like our hair goes grey with age, our tissue quality also declines,’ says Ms Brasher.


‘As we age, our tissues become less resilient and able to tolerate the high demands of sport.’


‘While you may have been able to squeeze in a full day of cricket, round of golf and run into your weekends in the past, jumping straight back into these same habits 10 years later can quickly see you spend the remainder of the week on the couch.’


No matter your age, it’s important to recognise the difference between pain and soreness and when you need to take a break or seek help.


-ENDS-

For further information, please contact: Julie Dwyer, Communications Manager
T 03 9092 0810 M 0419 176 075  E Julie.Dwyer@physiotherapy.asn.au