For many years the work of the physiotherapist and also of the osteopath has been recognized in the sports field. But it is not always clear which is the main contribution of physiotherapy and osteopathy to sports performance.
In my opinion, there are five components that must work together with the same common objective in order to achieve an optimal athletic performance.
Five components involved in sports performance:
1. Athlete: is the main component, which contributes with his talent, effort and dedication to raise his level to the maximum of his possibilities.
2. Trainer: he is the one who administers and doses training loads.
3. Physiotherapist and osteopath: is in charge of making sure that the athlete is in optimal physical condition to face training and competitions without physical restrictions.
4. Nutritionist: is in charge of planning the necessary energy contribution for the individual needs, both for the daily feeding and for the food and liquid intake before, during and after the competition.
5. Rest: this must be restorative and of good quality and quantity.
Functions of the physiotherapist and osteopath:
Among the most well-known functions of the physiotherapist and osteopath are those of being part of the rehabilitation process after an injury, also is who ensures that the athlete returns to activity in optimal conditions and in the shortest possible time.
Other known functions of the physiotherapist and osteopath are both pre-competition preparation and post-competition therapeutic measures to ensure a rapid recovery in order to back to train as soon as possible.
Injuries prevention and performance optimization: less known but more valuable functions.
There are also other functions of the physiotherapist and osteopath that are closely related to the optimization of sports performance and injury prevention.
Currently, working with an athlete is not limited to waiting for an injury to occur and then working in recovery. On the contrary, the necessary measures are taken to act in a preventive way.
There are a number of functional sports assessments aimed at detecting risk factors in order to avoid injuries and optimize sports performance. It consists of making a detailed study of each athlete.
When I attend an athlete I make an exhaustive evaluation that includes: a postural evaluation, analytical and global mobility, flexibility, strength evaluation and force asymmetries between agonist and antagonist groups and also in terms of concentric and eccentric contraction, evaluate the stability of the CORE, a series of basic movement patterns, and finally the proprioception of lower limbs.
At the end of the evaluation I look for to determine in which system is the cause of the deficits. It is possible that the origin is osteoarticular, muscular, fascial, visceral, craniosacral, alterations of the motor control, propioceptive deficits, and so on.
Once the causes have been detected, all that remains is to decide and apply the appropriate treatment through manual techniques and the implementation of an exercise plan that aims to correct the causes of the alterations.
Physiotherapy and osteopathy can work in advance to enhance sporting performance. Excellent results are achieved with regard to injury prevention and also in terms of improving performance, since any factor that interferes with the execution of movements will be limiting the possibilities of development and sporting success.