Introducing the latest approaches to sports rehabilitation

This article aims to discuss how a multidisciplinary rehabilitation approach is key to injury assessment and returning physically active people back to their sport promptly and safely.

By Dr Kate Hutchings, Consultant in Sports and Exercise Medicine, Circle Rehabilitation

Sports and exercise medicine promotes exercise and health in line with sports injury prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. Sporting events like the 2012 London Olympic Games have helped to promote sport and physical activity across all age groups. From a public health perspective, this is vital in helping to reduce the risk
of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

In managing physically active people, there is also a need for expertise in injury assessment and rehabilitation, as well as patient education. The management of chronic lower back pain is one such example, where effective treatments have physical activity at their core, with combined psychological and pain management principles as key components. Rehabilitation centres are able to offer a multidisciplinary approach to these chronic conditions with expertise from a variety of clinicians.

Furthermore, the clinical translation of innovative musculoskeletal and rehabilitation strategies and evidenced-based practice is a key focus for our rehabilitation unit.

Tendinopathy is one such example, and as evidence regarding the pathophysiology and pain stimuli for this complex condition builds, so too do our varied management options, including extracorporeal shock wave therapy, high volume and blood injections and medications that address tendon pain and structure. Similarly, we continue to address the evidence for injury prevention and the complexity of load management as a causative factor in musculoskeletal overuse injuries. In particular, our understanding of the management and prevention of bone stress injuries continues to evolve as our knowledge of issues such as “relative energy deficiency” in sport grows.

Given the multifactorial aetiology of musculoskeletal injuries, while we cannot always eliminate injury, we can now understand the risks. Rehabilitation centres are able to offer physically active people in-depth assessments and education regarding their sports injury, helping them return to training and high performance. This can include biomechanical screening assessments, 3D gait analysis, isokinetic muscle testing and bespoke nutritional plans with our specialised teams.

It is evident that a multidisciplinary rehabilitation approach is key to returning physically active people back to their sport promptly and safely. Circle Rehabilitation’s centre in Reading offers clinical expertise in injury assessment, diagnosis and rehabilitation, including nutritional, psychological and high performance support.

Dr Kate Hutchings is a consultant in Sports and Exercise Medicine at Circle Rehabilitation. Her experience spans treating both amateur and elite professional athletes.

As a consultant at the English Institute of Sport at Bisham Abbey, she looks after Olympic and Paralympic athletes from a range of sports. She has also worked with Chelsea Football Club, professional rugby teams and was company doctor to English National Ballet.

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