Role of osteopaths
Osteopaths may work with sports people with or without an injury. They can help competitive/elite sports people and patients who play sport recreationally. Osteopaths may work in sporting clubs, athletic arenas and private practice.
Elite sports people should check that an osteopath understands their sport.
Assessment and performance optimisation
Osteopaths are primary healthcare professionals and can assess sporting injury risks and impacts, as well as give advice on movement for sporting performance. Their work involves:
- Reviewing how your body moves and your physical skills against the demands of a particular sport. Physical skills include, for example, muscle strength or muscle length, force, speed/agility, balance and flexibility.
- Examining any imbalances or weaknesses in the body that could put a player at risk of injury during sporting activity or when performing certain movements.
- Developing sporting rehabilitation and performance plans.
After a sports injury, an osteopath might use clinical tests of the nerves, joints and movement to assess the level of the injury and how it could impact sporting abilities.
Approach to therapy
As well as manual therapy, an osteopath may use taping, bracing, splinting and other approaches when managing an injury.
For sports people with or without injury, an osteopath might create a program of specific exercises and strategies aimed at improving performance in a sport or role within a sport.
A multidisciplinary approach
Osteopaths are part of a network of healthcare professionals. They provide referrals to, and work with, sports physicians, general practitioners, exercise physiologists, physiotherapists and other health professionals.