Juli-Ann Riley explains how physiotherapists can help you get back on track and assist with enhancing performance.
It’s distressing when you can’t do what you love, and frustrating when injuries prevent you from preparing for an important event. However, injuries are such a common part of any sport, so don’t panic: keep calm and let the physio handle it. “What we want to do is limit the extent of the injury and reduce or reverse the damage,” explains Juli-Ann Riley of Riley Physiotherapists.
“I’m sure you have all heard of PRICE (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). Although there is some controversy about this, the injured area does initially need to be rested and protected to prevent further damage, in addition to controlling pain and swelling,” says Juli-Ann. “Protection may include strapping, bracing or even using crutches. Ice may be useful to ease pain and excessive swelling,” she continues – adding that elevation, ideally 45 degrees above the heart, is also useful for swelling. “Compression may be useful if there is excessive swelling, but can have its own pitfalls. So it’s best to get advice here.”
Previously, it was common practice to use anti-inflammatory drugs after an injury, but there has been a move away from this as they can decrease the quality of healing.
After a few days, the body starts to repair the damage, but this new tissue is initially very weak. “If you do too much during this time, as is often tempting, it will be damaged,” says Juli-Ann. “But, very importantly, if not enough is done, the tissue does not build up enough strength. Getting the correct balance that puts the right amount of stress on the area at the right time is vital.”
Maintaining strength and flexibility of the rest of the body, in addition to cardiovascular fitness, is also important. “One also needs to slowly improve balance, co-ordination, flexibility, strength and stability around the injured area,” says Juli-Ann.
After a couple of weeks, you can gradually start putting more demands on the tissue, and more advanced and sport-specific rehabilitation could be commenced. “Signs of recurring pain or other problems usually mean that you should slow down or backtrack a bit,” explains Juli-Ann. “Everyone is different, so an individualised treatment programme is best.”
Physiotherapists can assist you from day one throughout the stages of your recovery and rehabilitation. They can also address underlying risk factors for further injury, and assist with enhancing performance. “The goal is to get you even better than you were before,” says Juli-Ann.
FOR MORE INFO:
- The Gillitts Medical Centre, 15 Old Main Road, Gillitts
- 031 764 2750
- Juli-Ann Riley Physiotherapists: Femina Health, 75 Old Main Rd, Kloof
- 031 767 3989
Juli-Ann Riley is a local physiotherapist with a special interest in the treatment of sports injuries. She enjoys being active through swimming, hiking, trail running, bodyboarding, scuba diving, snorkelling and paddling. Juli-Ann has completed two single Dusis and loves exercise that is fun and takes her out into nature.