Sports Therapy Explained

Olympic Runner and Barefoot Physio, Caitlin Sargent

Many people ask me why we differentiate between the terms ‘physiotherapy’ and ‘sports physiotherapy’.  And fair enough, as the term sports physio isn’t widely understood – in fact, physio in general isn’t widely understood. But there’s a difference, which to us and our clients is vital.

Most people think of physio as a massage, followed by a bunch of home exercises for rehabilitation. So on that basis, sports physio would simply be the same but for people who play sport, right? Not at Barefoot Physiotherapy, and I’ll explain why.

Let’s say you’ve presented to your GP with one of the usual suspects like neck, shoulder, back or knee injury. An attentive GP will likely spend a few minutes with you looking at your range of motion and asking about the circumstances of the pain you’re experiencing, before giving you a referral for some physiotherapy.

Now this is where your journey can make a decisive turn. If you’ve been sent to a regular physiotherapist for rehabilitation, you’ll probably notice the treatment in your session will go straight to the site of the pain. It seems very cause and effect – you have a knee injury, so let’s get to work on that joint.

But this approach misses the key fact that often the site of pain is not in the same place as the cause. Still experiencing pain after a few visits? It’s a safe bet you’ve been treating the symptom and not the cause.

If you want to treat the cause of your problem and improve your performance, you need to see a sports physio.