How to select a sport's physiotherapist

By Andrew on 05 Feb 2015

Part 1)

John is a regional level long distance runner. He has developed some knee pain over the past 3 months, which is affecting his performance. He decides to attend his local GP for some advice as he has a race coming up in 3 weeks time. It goes like this:

 

John: “Doctor, my knee hurts.”

Doctor: “What happened?”

John: “Well, after 6 miles of running, I get aching in my knee, which is affecting my running times.”

Doctor: (who has approximately 10 minutes for an assessment and a full list of patients that day, ranging from heart disease, pregnancy, cancer, self employed people off work etc): “Maybe you should stop running."

John: “For how long?”

Doctor: “Until it stops hurting...”

John: “When will that be as I have a race in 3 weeks time?”

Doctor: (who is now under pressure to make a decision and who is most likely not to be an expert in knees, sports medicine or running) “I’m not sure, but maybe you should try some alternative sport instead.”

 

John now leaves the surgery very disappointed. Determined not to let his knee beat him, John continues running for another 3 months. His pain now starts after 2 miles and he can no longer compete at regional level. He has no pain with normal day activities but because he is unable to run, he has started to suffer from low mood.

 

Does this story sound familiar?

 

This is not the GP’s fault as it is not their area of expertise, but unfortunately, the outcome for John is not great.

 

Part 2)

John decides that he needs to see a physiotherapist. In order to explain how important choosing the correct physiotherapist for his problem is, I would like to use a metaphor involving two different types of cars.  The cars I have chosen are a VW Golf and a Formula one racing car. Let’s compare the cars.

 

 

Qualities

VW Golf

F1 Racing Car

Price

Reasonable

Very Expensive

Reliability / Demands

Reliable due to low demands

Unreliable due to high demands

Comfort

Very comfortable

Not very comfortable (high G forces on the neck)

Performance

Standard

World class

Is it a good car?

Yes

Yes

 

 

Both cars require a service and have some issues with the engine. Here are the options for both cars.

 

 

Services

Gary’s Garages

Mclaren F1

Convenience

Close to home

Not necessarily close to home

Experience  

Assess all car types (never seen a formula one car, except on tv)

Assess only Formula one cars

Expertise

Generic mechanics

Specialist F1 mechanics

Reputation

Recommended by a friend who had their golf serviced there.

Recommended by a friend who had their F1 car serviced there

Price

Competitive with local garages

More expensive than the competition

 

 

The question is where do you bring your golf? And where do you bring your formula one car?

 

The same applies for the human body. If you place high demands on your body, you need an expert to assess and treat it.

 

I am not suggesting that everyone who exercises is a formula one car, however, I am saying that people who want to have athletic goals e.g. fat loss, improved strength, jump higher, run for longer, sprint faster etc require a specialist in the area of sports physiotherapy when they get injured. You do not need to be elite or call yourself an athlete but you must understand that your body needs a certain amount of strength, mobility, flexibility, co-ordination and power to perform even the most basic of athletic tasks e.g. walking or running. Therefore, you need to see a specialist who is able to understand these athletic qualities and adapt your exercise programme to suit your specific needs/goals.

 

ProCare Sports Medicine is a Formula one garage for people who want more from their rehabilitation, sport and fitness. It's for people who do not want to stop exercising or playing the sport they love. It's for you.

 

 

Posted in: Training Considerations , Why ProCare is Different

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