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Sporting Injuries

sporting injuries.jpeg

Sporting Injuries

Acute sporting injuries are unexpected and can have a significant impact on one's life. It can be reassuring to understand what injury you have sustained, the predicted recovery time/prognosis and the specific rehabilitation required to get you back to sport and work as soon as possible without the risk of re-injury. 


Most people have heard of the RICER acronym, but there is a new acronym which takes into consideration the importance of protection and loading. This new acronym is POLICE and is a protocol that can be followed after sustaining an acute injury. 



  • We want to protect an injury to avoid further tissue damage. It’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean indefinite immobilisation. Protect could also refer to the optimal amount of rest needed to allow the injury to heal properly. 


Optimally Load

  • All tissues require a certain amount of load in order to heal. Gentle movement is often needed to reduce swelling and oedema. There are times where complete immobilisation is needed and loading is not appropriate i.e. a fracture


  • 20mins 3-5x a day, keep the ice going for 72 hours after injury to help manage pain and swelling. 



  • Wrap a bandage or compression bandage around the injury. The bandage should be firm but not too tight to permit adequate blood flow.



  • If the injury is to your lower leg or foot, elevate the leg above the hip. If the injury is to your arm, use a sling.


What are the most common sporting injuries?

  • Ligament injuries 

    • ACL/MCL/LCL/PCL (knee) 

    • Acromioclavucalr joint (shoulder joint)

    • Ankle sprain, complex/high ankle sprains

  • Muscle strain/tears

    • Hamstring 

    • Quads

    • Calf/Achilles

    • Rotator cuff (shoulder)

  • Overuse injuries

    • Rotator cuff tendinopathy (shoulder)

    • Tibial stress syndrome/shin splints

    • Patellar tendinopathy

  • Fractures

    • Traumatic fractures. Eg. avulsion fractures, clavicle, fibula

    • Overuse fractures. Eg. base of 5th metatarsal (little toe), tibia stress fracture

  • Child/adolescent sporting injuries

    • Ostechondritis Dissecans 

    • Sever's disease (heel pain)

    • Osgood schlatters 


How does physio help?

Your physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment to confirm your diagnosis and the severity of the injury. If your Physiotherapist suspects a more severe injury, they will refer as necessary or for a scan if required. For example, if your Physiotherapist suspects a fracture, they will likely refer you for an x-ray. Fractures will generally require a period of immobilisation (in order to allow the bone to heal) and in some instances surgery is required. 

Your Physiotherapist can also assess whether a surgical opinion is required - this decision is made based on a number of factors including your age and other individual factors, activity level, extent of injury and more. In most cases, activity modification/load management, exercise and a gradual return to sport/activity is the best approach to most acute sporting injuries. Your physiotherapist can design a specific rehabilitation program tailored to you and your goals, to help you get back to doing the things you love.

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