Disc Injuries

hernited discDiscogenic injuries occur in the lower lumbar and lower cervical joints, the lumbar (lower back) being more commonly affected that the cervical (neck) joints. The injury usually occurs with a lifting movement where the back is flexed and rotated. Usually something is felt at the time, but the pain may not be too severe. It is usually worse getting out of bed the next morning. The severity and extent of the symptoms indicated the severity of the injury. It can vary from pain felt across the lower back to pain radiating down the leg along a neural line.

It is important to get to your physiotherapist as soon as possible to help with the pain. You will also need to start an extensive core strengthening programme to strengthen your back around the area of weakness

Rotator Cuff Injury

rotator_cuff_tear[1]The rotator cuff is made up of 4 muscles (the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis) which act as the dynamic stabilizers of the shouder to control the position of the head of the humerus within the glenoid fossa.

A shoulder impingement occurs when one of the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles gets impinged within the joint. This causes the tendon to get inflamed and damaged.

The rotator cuff can also develop a tendinopathy, which can be caused from either an overuse injury or from an excessive overload due to poor mechanis.

For both conditiond it is important to see a physio therapist to help with the pain and inflammation and most importantly to get a programme to correct the shoulder biomechanics to prevent further injury.

Dislocated Shoulder

dislocated shoulderDislocated shoulders are one of the most common traumatic sports injuries. The majority of cases are anterior dislocations, where the humerus moves forward out of the glenoid fossa. There may be damage to the labrum on the glenoid, disrupted ligaments and occasionally a compression fracture of the humerus. It is best to get the shoulder x-rayed to check for any fractures and it needs to be reduced (put back in the socket) as quick as possible.

It is then very important to start an intensive exercise programme with your physiotherapist to try reduce the risk of re-dislocating

Runner’s knee

runners_knee_530[1]Runner’s knee (Patellofemoral pain) is a general term used to describe pain at the front of the knee. The area of the pain is under or around the patella (knee cap). It is painful when taking the stairs, kneeling, sitting with a bent knee and running hills. The three most common causes of anterior knee pain are patellofemoral syndrome, patellar tendinopathy and fat pad impingement. Contributing factors can be poor biomechanics, poor patella tracking (the glide of the patella), tight muscles (calf, quadriceps, hamstring, ITB), weak gluts, VMO (inner quad) and the type of training.

It is important to see a physio to determine what factors are contributing towards the pain. The physio will help correct the muscle imbalances and improve the tracking of your patella.

Torn ACL

acl-tear[1]Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are the most frequent cause of prolonged absence from sport in athletes. They usually occur when landing from a jump, a pivot or a quick deceleration. There is often a ‘pop’ sound with the feeling of something clicking out and back in. A complete tear is very painful and the athlete will often feel unstable. Within a few hours after the injury there will be swelling. Often athletes wait 24-48hours before seeing a physio/ doctor. This delayed period makes it difficult to accurately assess the knee due to the swelling and protective spasm of the hamstring.

The ACL will be reconstructed through arthroscopic surgery. It is important to see your physio for pre-habiliation before the operation to get the swelling down and get your full range of movement. After the surgery there is a lengthy period of rehabilitation to regain your range of movement, proprioception and strength to get you back to sport.

Torn MCL

MCL[1]A tear of the medial collateral ligament (MCL) usually occurs when a force is applied from the outside of the knee, pushing it inwards, with the knee slightly bent. Such as in rugby when the opponent tackles across the player. MCL tears are graded depending on the severity and the grading affects the treatment and recovery time.

Isolated MCL tears are treated conservatively with physiotherapy and strengthening programmes to return you to sport

Torn Ankle Ligaments

inversion-and-eversion-sprains[1]It is more common to tear the lateral ankle ligaments through an inversion injury. This usually happens in sports that involve quick change of direction on uneven surfaces such as soccer fields. There is often a loud snapping sound, and depending on the severity of the injury the athlete will often have to stop playing. Swelling usually appears very quickly with bruising. It is important to RICE (rest, ice, compress & elevate) and soon as possible.

Make an appointment with your physio as soon as possible to help reduce the pain and inflammation. It is then important to continue with a rehabilitation programme prescribed by your physiotherapist to help regain mobility, strength, proprioception and sport-specific exercises before returning to sport.

Achillies Tendinopathy

achillies-tendon2[1]Achilles tendinopathy is a common overuse injury to the Achillies tendon seen in runners, where the load on the tendon exceeds its ability to withstand the load. The signs and symptoms vary greatly. The pain may have a sudden onset or be gradual, may be a mild pain to a disabling pain and may last a few days to a few years! Some of the many factors that can cause the teninopathy may be from years of running, a sudden increase in running, change of running surface, change of or poor footwear, weak calf muscles or reduced foot range of motion.

It is important to see you physiotherapist for an assessment to determine the type and cause of the tendinitis. Initially rest is important. The physio will help reduce the inflammation, design an appropriate strengthening programme and correct the factors that are causing the tendinitis.



Whiplash is an injury caused by rapid acceleration and deceleration of the neck, most commonly after motor vehicle accidents. There is often a lot of soft tissue damage and the cervical spinal joints get distorted. In many cases the symptoms may take a few days to appear, and may affect the person months after the accident. Therefore it is very important to see a physiotherapist as soon as possible after the accident to assess your neck.

Some of the signs and symptoms of whiplash are:

  • painful and stiff neck
  • headaches
  • nausea and vomiting
  • pain and/or pins and needles in your arms
  • difficulty swallowing