Sports physiotherapy is a specialized area, within the physiotherapy profession, for the prevention and management of injury resulting from participation in sports. Physiotherapists specialised in sports performance contribute to the promotion of safe physical activity participation, the provision of advice, and the adaptation of rehabilitation in training loads.
The sport-specific specialized interventions are recommended to athletes of all ages and physical states, whether involved in professional or recreational activity, to enhance their performance. Our method & the wide variety of potential in treating sports-related injuries are explained thoroughly below. The process is simplified into four basic steps which need to be applied methodically to ensure maximum long-term benefit for the athlete.
These steps include:
1) Comprehensive Assessment
A thorough clinical assessment needs to be based on a complete subjective examination of the history and/or potential mechanisms of injury. At the initial assessment, we should fully understand the current state of performance, the recent history of injury (and the previous where it exists), characteristics & symptoms’ behavior in daily life, athlete’s beliefs regarding the injury, personal needs, goals, expectations of recovery, as well as some other aspects that may be important for an insight of the current clinical state.
This evidence guides our clinical assessment’s design, in order to identify and understand all of the parameters, contributing factors, or anatomical areas that affect directly or indirectly the limitation of physical performance. During the clinical assessment, which is conducted by a specialized musculoskeletal physiotherapist, the current state of the joints, the muscle tissue, as well as neural tissue mobility are evaluated. The complete assessment of an athlete’s physical condition in many cases includes the accurate measurement of muscle strength, power, torque, endurance, neuromuscular coordination, and other special tests where required.
An isokinetic dynamometer (aka Cybex) is available at our facilities and is regarded as the most reliable & science-based choice for the conduction of such measurements. In addition to the evaluation of muscle groups, the isokinetic dynamometers are also regularly used for the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries, and surgeries, but also for screening purposes during the preseason period.
In our clinic, it is also possible to perform a complete posture & gait analysis. When it is clinically relevant and/or essential, we proceed to the prescription and manufacturing of special orthotics insoles or footwear, according to the needs of the athlete. The postural assessment and gait analysis are conducted with the accuracy and reliability offered by the use of a force plate device by “FootWork”.
2) Rehabilitation Design & Execution
Following the clinical assessment, an individualized rehabilitation plan is designed and performed from day one. Our intervention capability includes multiple modalities like manual therapy, tecar therapy, dry needling, acupuncture, kinematic sports tape, etc.
Along with the treatment interventions mentioned above, the athlete is being introduced to a specifically prescribed exercise plan from the initial stages of the rehabilitation. In the cases where the nature and the healing stage of the injury allow it, the athlete works exclusively in therapeutic exercise sessions, in our well-equipped gym, under the supervision & guidance of a sports physiotherapist.
3) Sports-Specific Return to Performance
When the symptoms subside and you regain the optimum performance then you are ready for the final part of rehab which is the “return to play” state.
At this stage, the success of the recovery program is tested. Rehabilitation-orientated training sessions take place in stadiums or other sports venues, depending on the type of sport and the training requirements of each individual. By the end of the rehabilitation plan, the main goal is to accomplish 120% of the desired performance state compared to that physical status before the injury.
To achieve the optimal return to performance, we can work, at any sports venue with the athlete, in one-to-one sessions or in groups (where this is feasible). Rehab sessions at the sports venue, aim at exercise aspects like agility, neuromuscular coordination, and particular sports-specific tasks, to ensure that the athlete is ready to return to heavy training loads.
4) Round the Clock Support
Our therapists engage in continuous professional education and training in sports physiotherapy, to provide extended and updated consultation services. This continuous process ensures and certifies a high standard of professional and ethical practice.
We also provide advanced knowledge and skills in a multidisciplinary approach, when we collaborate with elite athletes (individuals or sports teams) where it is required to integrate our services with other medical professionals, coaches, strength and conditioning personnel, and support staff.
Furthermore, on-demand, we can contribute to the design, and supervision of the pre-season training sessions, for individual athletes or sports teams, for injury prevention & enhancement of functional performance.
The application of this process along with the necessary recognition, incorporation & support of the athlete’s psychosocial background, ensures that we provide the highest quality of physical therapy services in Chania, Crete, at any stage and kind of sports-specific rehabilitation, injury prevention, and injury surveillance programs.