Sports physiotherapy is a stream of physiotherapy associated with sports-related injuries. The advantage of a sports physiotherapist is their experience with sports injuries and rehabilitation, giving them the skills to effectively diagnose injury and set you on the right course of management. All sports physiotherapists have extensive experiences with recreational to elite sporting teams or individuals, with many specialising in a particular sport or activity. For example, some sports physiotherapists may have expertise in track and field (running), while others might have experience with footballers, court sports, dancers, cyclists, golfers or tennis players.
How do you know if someone is a good sports physio?
In Australia, the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) regulates titles of “sports physiotherapist” to those who have completed a Master of Physiotherapy degree. This enables them to use the title “APA Sport and Exercise Physiotherapist”.
If you’re searching through physiotherapist profiles, look for this title as it indicates they have completed the required training of a sports physiotherapist. In addition, finding a good sports physiotherapist is the next thing to look for and this can be done in a few ways.
Firstly, read their profile and get a sense of which teams/sports they work with. As a tip, if they work with state or national level sport teams or individuals, they probably know what they’re doing. Next, read any reviews about their work from previous customers and finally check their profile to see if they’re part of national or state sports organisations/committees as this indicates they have expertise in the profession.
You may also read about musculoskeletal physiotherapists. These physiotherapists are able to manage sports injuries, but they are not sports physiotherapists as they haven’t completed the required training. Instead, this stream of physiotherapy is more general, and suitable for managing musculoskeletal injury across the lifespan. For example, general population patients in the community who have suffered a fracture, arthritis or back pain may typically see a musculoskeletal physiotherapist. If you are looking for a physiotherapist to deal with a specific sporting injury, a s a general rule, look for the title ‘sports physiotherapist’.
Can you be a sports physiotherapist with other qualifications?
Yes, there are plenty of physiotherapists that work in sport but are not titled as an “APA Sport and Exercise Physiotherapist”. Physiotherapists who have obtained a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) have typically completed a substantial amount of research and published in academic journals on a specific area related to sports physiotherapy. Hence, these physiotherapists typically have in-depth knowledge in a specific area (e.g. tendinopathy, anterior cruciate ligament injury, stress fractures) and may be called upon by sports teams to provide consultation on difficult sports injuries.
About Nick Rees
Nick is a highly skilled sports physiotherapist who works in various settings around Melbourne with high-performance athletes across many sports. He has a particular interest in cycling, running and hockey related injuries and technique analysis, as well as the management of knee and foot/ankle injuries. Nick is passionate about working with his clients to deliver the best possible outcome all with a smile on his face.
He is a qualified APA Titled Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist and can help you manage and prevent injuries while improving your performance.