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Osteopath for Sports Injuries

Sports injuries are common among athletes and can range from minor strains and sprains to more serious fractures and dislocations. Osteopathy can be an effective treatment option for sports injuries because it focuses on restoring proper alignment and function to the musculoskeletal system.

Osteopaths use a variety of techniques to address sports injuries, including joint mobilization, soft tissue massage, and exercise prescription. They may also recommend lifestyle modifications, such as changes to diet and exercise habits, to promote healing and prevent further injury.

In addition to treating sports injuries, osteopathy can also help athletes improve their overall performance by identifying and addressing any underlying musculoskeletal imbalances or weaknesses. This can help to prevent future injuries and improve overall athletic ability.

Overall, osteopathy can be a valuable tool for athletes looking to recover from sports injuries and improve their performance. By addressing the root cause of musculoskeletal problems, osteopathy can help athletes get back to their sport faster and with less risk of re-injury.

Let’s take a look at some common injuries:

Ankle sprains

Ankle sprains are super common, nearly everyone will say “yeah I rolled my ankle once before”. Ankle sprains are commonly seen in sports with lots of jumping and explosive change of direction such as netball, basketball and soccer.

A sprained ankle occurs when you roll, twist or land in a position that causes stretching or tearing of the ligaments that stabilize the ankle joint. This mostly happens on the outer part of the foot (inversion sprain) but can also occur on the inside (eversion sprain).

Common symptoms of an ankle sprain are pain, swelling, tenderness, bruising, restricted motion and instability.

Complications: When the ligament is stretched forcefully it has the potential to pull at the bone with such strength that it can result in what is known as an ‘Avulsion Fracture’. This type of injury will require more extensive management and rehab, and also a longer healing time.

Bruised Ankle

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is a common name for lateral epicondylitis. Tennis elbow pain stems from irritated muscles and tendons that connect the forearm to the upper arm, passing over the elbow joint on the outside.

Tennis elbow is often caused by overuse and repetitive movements such as playing tennis. Despite the name it can also occur in people who don’t play tennis too..

It is a common finding that the shoulder on the affected side is sitting in a poor biomechanical position which then overloads the forearm to perform a bigger task.  Alongside strengthening the forearm with a specific re-loading program, it’s imperative that the shoulder mechanics are re-trained to reduce recurrence.

lateral epicondilitis | tennis elbow | elbow pain

Rotator cuff injury

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that help stabilize the shoulder during movement. It has a big job due to the way the shoulder is designed, for maximum movement range.

The rotator cuff can be impacted by a range of different injuries including strains, tears, and tendinitis.

Common symptoms of a rotator cuff injury include pain or tenderness when reaching overhead, trouble reaching behind your back, pain and weakness.

Trigger points in the rotator cuff muscles are really common and can also mimic a more serious rotator cuff issue.

Athletes that commonly suffer rotator cuff injuries include tennis players, baseball players, rowers, and wrestlers.

Shoulder Pain | Osteopathy | Kew

Shin splints

Shin splints is the common term for medial tibial stress syndrome. This refers to pain along the shinbone also known as your tibia.

Shin splints are common when using the foot to propel you forwards ie. pushing your toes into the ground to get more pace. Why this occurs is that these muscles of the foot are small, and frankly pushing you forwards is not their job. The propulsion effect in biomechanics belongs to big muscle groups of what is known as the extensor chain, namely the gluts (butt muscles) and the quads (front of thigh).

Shin splints can also be caused by overuse, foot biomechanics, running technique or even the shoes you are wearing.

Hip flexor strain

Your hip flexors are a group of muscles commonly known for bringing your knee towards your chest, aka flexing your hip.

Common symptoms of hip flexor strains can include sudden pain, pain when stretching through the hip, tenderness to touch, swelling or bruising, even a flicking sound with hip motion.

Athletes who compete in dance, gymnastics, martial arts and soccer are more likely to suffer from hip flexor strains, but it’s really common if you are sitting for your work or school hours. It just adds to the muscle shortening.

Hip flexor issues have a common referral to the low back so keep an eye out for that one, cos it’s not always pain at the front like most people think!!

Psoas muscle | Osteopathy

Groin pain

The most common causes of groin pain include muscle, ligament, or tendon strains. Another often unknown cause of groin pain is referred pain from the sacroiliac joint (SIJ) which is the connection from your spine to your pelvis at the back.

Groin pain may occur immediately after an injury or it may progress gradually over weeks or months.  Either way, it’s worth assessing to identify why there is an imbalanced mechanical load in the area.

Groin pain can commonly be seen in sports such as AFL, soccer and hockey, but even occur in your everyday low impact exercise such as walking.


Concussion is defined as a complex physiological process affecting the brain, induced by biomechanical forces.

Concussion may be caused by either a direct or indirect blow to the head, face, neck or body causing an impulsive force transmitted to the head.

Common symptoms of concussion can include nausea, headaches, confusion, lack of coordination and dizziness.

We treat mild concussion in the clinic with Cranial Osteopathy as well as assessing the neck and back and reducing the impacts of the concussive event.

Headache | Osteo | Kew

Runner’s knee

Firstly, it isn’t just for runners, but it can also be known as patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Common symptoms include pain usually in the front of the knee, difficulty when bending, squatting, kneeling or running and commonly it becomes worse when walking downstairs.

Common risk factors for runner’s knee include running on hard surfaces like concrete or wearing poor fitting shoes with no support.

Our unique style with biomechanics will rebalance you knee motion with your hip and ankle to take the stress out of the “middle-man” so to speak. If you have ongoing patello-femoral pain, it’s not all about strengthening, you usually need to add in very specific knee motion re-training.

Knock Knees | Valgus Knee | Bow Legs | Varus Knees


Tendons are the ropey bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones and help move the body. Tendonitis is also known as the irritation or inflammation of one of these tendons.

Tendonitis can occur in any tendon but is most common in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and heels.

Common symptoms of tendonitis include pain, tenderness, and mild swelling.

Risk factors can include a sudden increase in activity, poor fitting shoes, hard surfaces, poor biomechanics, and too little recovery time.

The pain of tendonitis often has you reducing use of the affected area which consequently weakens the muscle and tendon. BUT this can be rehabilitated with a measured strength reloading program to get the strength back and the pain gone.

tendonitis | achilles | osteopathy | kew

Tendon Tears

Tendon tears are can be partial or if they are a full tear then they are described as a tendon rupture.

Along with pain and swelling, tendon tears are commonly accompanied by a popping sound or feeling in the tissue.

Common symptoms include severe pain, bruising, pain and discomfort that worsens with tendon use, weakness and decreased range of motion.

The 4 most commonly ruptured tendons are:

  • quadriceps (front of thigh)
  • Achilles (calf attachment to heel bone)
  • rotator cuff (back of shoulder – see pic))
  • biceps (front of shoulder
rotator cuff tear | balwyn osteopath

ACL injury (Anterior Cruciate Ligament)

ACL injuries are becoming very well known in sports such as football, netball, and basketball.

An ACL injury is generally known as a tear to the anterior cruciate ligament – one of the main ligaments that provides support to your knee.

Common symptoms of an ACL injury include a loud popping or cracking sound, instability, pain, swelling, and stiffness.

The swelling occurs very quickly from an ACL injury compared to other knee injuries.

Rehabilitation is a must whether you require surgery or not, to repair the ligament.

ACL injury rehab | osteopath kew

Plantar Fasciitis

Your plantar fascia is a thick band that attaches the heel to the base of the toes. It helps support the arch of the foot and has an important role in normal foot mechanics.

Plantar fasciitis involves inflammation of this thick band causing pain along the bottom of the foot.

It’s typically felt at the front of the heel bone and often worse as you get our of bed.

Athletes who compete in sports such as running, dancing and aerobics may be at higher risk for plantar fasciitis due to the increased stress on the heel bone, but with a change in mechanical use of the foot and lower limb, plantar fasciitis can be a thing of the past!

Plantar Fascia | Foot Pain | Flat Feet | Osteopathy | Kew

Quadriceps Contusion (corked thigh)

A corked thigh as it is commonly known is the result of a severe impact to the thigh. The direct blow compresses the quadriceps muscle into the underlying femur bone resulting in localized bleeding of the muscle and inflammation.

This can commonly occur in sports such as AFL or rugby.

Common symptoms include soreness/tenderness, decreased range of motion, swelling and bruising.

The key here is to move the congestion away whilst not further inflaming the tissue.

bruised thigh | corky | corked thigh | quadriceps contusion

Gastrocnemius strain

Often referred to as the calf muscle, the gastrocnemius is a muscle located at the back of our lower leg and it is involved in standing, walking, running, and jumping.

Calf strains can commonly be seen in sports with high speed running, high volumes of running and acceleration and deceleration such as AFL, netball and track athletics.

Common symptoms include a sudden pain in the back of the leg, swelling, bruising and difficulty contracting the muscle.

Our rehab involves specific ankle and knee exercises to regain the most functional mobility of your lower leg.

calf | gastrocnemius | Balwyn

Why sports injuries occur:

  • Traumatic injury due to contact
  • Overtraining
  • Overtraining refers to when an athlete is not adequately recovering from training which can result in fatigue, declining performance and increase the risk of injury.
  • Common causes of over training include a lack of recovery time and increased intensity of training.
  • Common signs and symptoms to look out for include unusual muscle soreness, performance plateaus or declines, general fatigue, and delays in recovery.
  • Overtraining injuries are generally caused by too much stress on the body. This can include things such as shin splints, tennis elbow, runner’s knee and tendinitis.
  • Poor shoes
  • Prior injury
  • Change in intensity of activity
  • Poor technique


  • Sudden pain
  • Swelling or bruising
  • Decrease ROM
  • Weight bearing difficulties
  • Weakness
  • Aches

What does Osteopathy Treatment for sports injuries look like?

Our osteopaths can assist you in identifying the problem causing your pain and develop and plan to prevent re-occurrence of this same injury. We will work with you to provide education surrounding your injury, provide hands-on techniques and also prescribe you with at home exercises to accelerate the healing process. Our aim is to get you back out playing sport and staying injury free as long as possible.

A range of techniques our osteopaths can provide include:

  • Soft tissue massage
  • Therapeutic Ultrasound
  • Joint articulation
  • Joint manipulation
  • Exercise prescription and stretches (homework)
  • Dry needling

Osteopaths treat Sports Injuries

Osteopathic treatment can both accelerate healing time but also relieve pain that often comes with sporting injuries. We want to aid you in getting back to your best and participating in the sports that you love.