As a young teenager, I was always with my older brother Ben. He was almost three years my senior and was a very promising young Australian Rules Football Player. He played in the elite underage competition that sees more young athletes drafted into the professional ranks (AFL) than any other in the country. For my brother, it was his big year to showcase his talents in hope of getting drafted.
Ben was training harder than ever to make his dream become a reality. It was then that I recall him starting to complain of sore shins.
I attended the local Physiotherapist with Ben who was eager to have his shin pain fixed. After a brief look, the physiotherapist told Ben he had “shin splints.” The physio applied some ultrasound and told him to ice, stretch his calves & reduce his training sessions.
Ben reduced his training yet continued to play games whilst seeing the Physiotherapist weekly as recommended for ultrasound and soft tissue massage. Three weeks later, Ben become increasing concerned. His pain had worsened and his performance was suffering.
Ben eventually opted for a second opinion where it was revealed he had a bilateral medial tibia stress fracture. He missed the next ten weeks of the season leaving him only six games to prove his worth at a higher level. He was devastated.
What is the point of this story?
- What if our local physiotherapist was more thorough in his early management and loading protocols?
- What if our physiotherapist picked up a low-grade stress reaction in the first week and opted for three weeks strict rest?
As Physiotherapists managing athletes (elite or amateur), early accurate diagnosis and current evidence based management is paramount. The athletes career, dreams, goals and aspirations may depend on it.
Don’t be the Physiotherapist that misses the fracture, misdiagnoses or mismanages. Your professional integrity rests on it! Invest in your career; invest in your learning, invest with Sportsmedicinephysiotherapy.com