Minor sports injuries can best be defined as musculoskeletal conditions arising secondary to sporting or athletic conditions. Foot and ankle related sports injuries include plantar fasciitis, muscle strains, ligament sprains, tendonitis and bursitis.
Chiropractors manage sports injuries by undertaking a full assessment, performing a physical examination and utilising diagnostic imaging where appropriate.
Evidence based summary for manual therapy
Chiropractic treatment has been found beneficial in comparison to usual care the prevention of Lower Limb Muscle Strain injuries in players of Australian Rules Football in a single blinded randomised controlled trial. Those in the intervention group and receiving chiropractic care had a statistically significant reduced risk of injury – injury rates were 3.6% in the intervention group and 27.6% in the control group. This had a large impact on missed matches. There were only 4 missed matches for lower limb muscle strain for the 28 players in the intervention group who completed the trial, 21 missed matches for the 29 in the control group .
Back-in-Action Clinical Comment
As musculoskeletal specialists, chiropractors have expertise in this field of care and utilise interventions which are common to other health professions providing care in this area. It therefore follows that there is a substantial evidence base to support the application of physical modalities to the treatment and rehabilitation of sports injuries.
Chiropractors treat sports injuries using a package of care that may include self help recommendations of using ice or heat is often given in the acute stage and limiting of aggravating activities. Nutritional approaches can be beneficial to help support soft tissue healing. Chiropractic adjusting techniques (manipulation) and mobilisation may be applied to improve the function of the hip joint itself and other functionally related joints in the lower back and leg. Various muscle release techniques may be applied. An emphasis is placed on self help exercise which might include self mobilisation, stretching, strengthening and balance training. Core stability exercise often is useful for improving the position of the low back, pelvis and hip. Areas of severe muscle spasm may also benefit from massage or acupuncture. Foot orthotics, heel lifts, sitting advice and other ways to improve postural problems affecting the hip may be suggested. Functional neurological treatment and exercises can be helpful.
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