What is the difference regular injuries and sports injuries?

“I have some shoulder pain and was wondering what is the difference between a regular injury and sports injury? Do I see a regular physiotherapist or a sports physiotherapist?”

- Joel

Hi Joel,

The terminology used by physiotherapists can ben confusing sometimes. Body parts other than the main body trunk such as your spine and hips are referred to a peripherals by physiotherapists. So a shoulder injury such as yours is a peripheral injury.

Regular peripheral and sports injuries over-lap significantly. You can get knee ACL injury from incidents that are not sports related even though ACL injuries are common seen in athletes.

The main difference in approach in treating regular injuries and sports injuries are

  • the speed of recovery
  • the intensity of the treatment

Speed of Recovery

The pace of sports therapy is generally much quicker and more aggressive. This is due to the demands of the sports. The longer the athlete is down and out from training, the harder and longer it is for them to return to peak performance as their conditioning can deteriorate quite quickly. So treatment sessions tend to closer together and more frequently, several times a day in some cases.

Regular therapy would be spread out over a longer period of time to allow the body to heal more gradually.

Intensity of Treatment

Also, the demands of the sports can place a lots of stress on the injuries body part. As such the treatment such as strength and conditioning are generally more intensive to build up support – stronger muscular balance and finer motor control to prevent re-injury.

Such treatments is generally not called for with regular injuries as high-stress is not expected to the placed on the injured body part.

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