Watching Sport as a Physio

Growing pain treatment at an Oakville Physio clinic

It’s been a big couple of weeks for sport. Many people have been watching hockey with a Canadian team reaching the Stanley Cup finals. Wimbledon has been taking place, with Canadian Shapovalov reaching the semi-finals. And the UEFA Euro Cup has been taking place with the finals being and exciting twosome, Italy and England!

As healthcare professionals involved with movement as a background whether it be Physio, Massage, Chiropody, or Yoga Therapy, it is inevitable that we watch the proceedings through a different lens.

We see the sport for the competition aspect but we also think of the background training, the injuries on the field, the rehab from the injuries, warmups and on field treatment.

When a player goes down on the field, we see the replay and it’s inevitable we have a working diagnosis in our minds. Serena Williams slipping on the court at Wimbledon and returning with her thigh wrapped and a limp.

“Is it a quadriceps strain? She has decreased weight bearing on that side and an obvious decrease in the ability to generate power…”

Pan Am Games - Game ball for soccer in Oakville

Men’s soccer is a little more difficult because…..well the expression of the injury doesn’t always match with what we see. The play back always gleans more information for us as viewers.

We not only enjoy the game or competition, but the warmup and other interesting information.

The Serena Williams mini series on Crave “Being Serena” depicting her training while pregnant, her cesarean section, her recovery from the caesarean birth and its complications as well as her rehabilitation and attempts to return to sport while still breastfeeding her infant ….WOW!

The Lindsey Vonn is shown doing physio and rehabbing her ACL repair in Lindsey Vonn: The Climb.

Connor McDavid is shown rehabbing after a PCL injury in Connor McDavid: Whatever it Takes.

These documentaries show that recovery and rehabilitation are never a straight line. They also show that the body is resilient and adaptable. With mental fortitude, hard work and of course access to physiotherapy it’s possible to return to not just normal life, but elite sport after some major injuries, health issues, and child birth.

It is also amazing to watch a purposeful well executed warm-up. Whether it is elite level sport, or recreational, a warm-up is vital to prevent injury. If you are planning on, or likely to go sprinting after a ball, skating hard after a puck, change directions hard, throw a Hail Mary pass, a warm-up is helpful!

Why a Great Warm-Up?

A warm-up helps prepare you mentally and physically for what is to come. It should take your joints actively through the movements required. It should slowly elevate your heart rate and increase the blood flow. Gradually you inch towards “game-pace”.

FIFA Medical Network has an excellent framework for dynamic warmups meant for soccer (football).

Why reinvent the wheel?

Pick and choose the level that best suits you or your team. Send a little more time on the exercises that feel best.

Gary Roberts has a great dynamic warmup available on you tube designed for hockey players. It can be done in small spaces like area hallways and dressing rooms.

We often advise young athletes, that if the warm-up provided by their coach is inadequate then show up early and start their own, or do some from home / the hotel prior to leaving. The same thing goes for adult recreational athletes. Do your own small warm-up. You may get company after a few weeks.

baseball player showing post ACL reconstruction rehab at Oakville Physio clinic

For adults playing rec league baseball or slo pitch a warmup MAY consist of a jog around the field and some catch. Them most people go out expecting their bodies to sprint to a ball, run the bases, swing aggressively and bend and reach for grounders.

Do you see the problem?

Jogging the field is great. Especially if playing outfield, it familiarizes with the terrain. Warm-ups can start generally and then narrow down to your specialized positions.

Static stretches have been less advised, unless your sport requires flexibility. Even then, the greater time is spent in active motion.

There is a lot of information to sift through online, and not all of it great or updated. If you are unsure, your Physiotherapist is a great ally to set up for you or your team. We’ve had great fun in the past working with young athletes in their environment to have them functioning at their optimum!

Contact us a (905) 582-9700 or for more information.