Hey there, I’m so very excited to announce to you that today’s blog post was written by a dear friend of mine. She is an all-round boss woman, great Physiotherapist, fantastic mother and a wonderful friend. Boy does she have some things to teach us, so take a read, you won’t regret it.
“I’ve injured my knee, can you please just strap it for me quickly so I can carry on playing..”
If I had a rand for every time someone has said this or a similar statement to me, I’d be living on the beachfront in the Maldives. Athletes and sportsman, of all ages, are often just looking for a quick fix so they can get back into their sport.
I have always been interested in physical activity and sport, and have always had a passion for helping people. Over the last 9 years as a physiotherapist I have been lucky enough to work in a space that includes both my interests and passion.
I have worked in both the public and private health sector, different settings, different African countries and I have had the privilege of working with a very wide range of patients from babies to the elderly, from athletes to the not so active.
I love my job and all my patients but my passion is definitely working with more active and sport related patients. I love walking a journey with these patients from an initial injury to the point that they can eventually go back to participating in their sport. My goal is to make them stronger and more capable than before. I don’t agree with the quick fix approach that so many athletes are looking for. I have two principles that I try to follow and carry out when treating all my patients:
Firstly, Treat the cause and not just the symptoms!
The cause of an injury is the source or reason of it, while the symptom is a perceived change in some function, sensation or appearance of a person. If you just treat the symptoms that the patient complains of and don’t consider the cause of the injury, it would be like turning off a fire alarm without finding the fire and trying to put it out. It’s going to lead to more problems and repeated injuries. I think the focus should be on finding and treating the cause of the injuries. This way you treat and rehabilitate the patient holistically and make their entire body and biomechanics stronger. This in turn should allow patients to return to their physical activity confidently and excel at their sport, and prevent recurrence of injuries.
Prehabilitation is a form of strength training that aims to prevent injuries before the actual occurrence. So here the focus would be on strengthening and conditioning athletes so that the injuries never actually happen. A specific program would need to be designed and followed by an individual depending on what sport or physical activity they are participating in, as well as at what level they participate at. This then becomes a continual process that the patient needs to be committed to and it would evolve as the patient progresses in their sporting field. Prehabilitation enables the athletes body to be prepared for and adjusted to potential external stresses and injuries, and prevent them.
I believe that these principles can be applied in many areas of our lives. I’m a mother of three and when my 4 year old son is having a meltdown, I try to figure out the real cause of what’s going on and not just do a quick fix to stop the meltdown. I find this allows him to feel understood and be able to express his emotions comfortably. We both learn from the situation and it can then hopefully be prevented from happening again. With prehabilitation, I try to prepare my children for things that will be happening in their lives and give them time to adjust, process and prepare themselves for it ahead of time.
“Success is achieved and maintained by those who try and keep trying.” Yes, sports injuries and parenting can be frustrating; they both take focus, patience and time that you feel you don’t have…But if you just try, trust the process and surround yourself with supportive people - it can only lead to success!