Physiotherapists, the Athletic Therapist, and Their Differences
In the healthcare profession, there are many specialties and expertise. In the field of musculoskeletal and cardiovascular science, physiotherapists are considered as one of the highly skilled technicians in this area. Physiotherapy, otherwise known as physical therapy, specializes in the study of the musculoskeletal system. Disorders found in the muscles, bones, joints, and other parts of the body that causes physical disabilities and movements are the main focus of physiotherapy.
There are many types of physical therapy, and athletic therapy is definitely one of them. While most physiotherapists focus on a wide variety of clients, from post-surgery patients to individuals with lifelong disabilities, athletic therapists mainly specialize in the evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of people who suffer from sports related injuries. The bulk of an athletic therapist's list of clients is mostly individuals with a rather active lifestyle, as well as professional athletes.
Unlike physiotherapists that employ a wide range of treatments depending on what is appropriate for their patients, athletic physical therapists normally have targeted treatment programs specially developed for specific types of injuries that were sustained from various activities, whether it's sports related, occupation related, injuries incurred in an accident, while doing recreational activities, or even injuries acquired while doing day-to-day stuff.
Even if it's just an ankle sprain that has rendered you unable to walk properly, an athletic physiotherapist can make you an accurate treatment program to help your ankle recover quickly and healthily. He may even provide you with some tips to minimize the risk of that injury from happening again. But don't get me wrong, general physical therapists can treat such types of injuries as well. It's just that these types of injuries are the main cuisine of sports therapists, so to speak.
One major difference between a physiotherapist and an athletic therapist is the fact that sports therapy is mainly based on a sports medicine standard of treatment and rehabilitation, unlike physiotherapy where the study of neurological and cardiovascular rehabilitation are key factors. However, physiotherapists and athletic therapists often work hand in hand, along with other healthcare professionals, to achieve a mutual goal, which is to get the best results and the speedy and healthy recovery of the patient, or client.
As far as education is concerned, physiotherapy is normally a general practice as it covers a variety of healthcare aspects such as geriatrics, pediatrics, cardiac and respiratory care, as well as musculoskeletal and neurological injuries. It is upon graduation that most physiotherapists tend to go on their separate ways as they pick and choose the specialties they one to focus on. Only then will they be able to develop their sports therapy skills through various professional development courses and experiences.
If you were to venture into the field of athletic therapy, the scope of your practice would include the immediate care, rehabilitation and reconditioning of musculoskeletal injuries. But you don't just treat injuries; you are responsible as well for the prevention of such injuries, especially when it comes to your highly active clients. Keep in mind that a person does not have to be a professional athlete to incur sports related injuries.
Whether you are a general physiotherapy practitioner or one of the hardworking sports or athletic physiotherapists, what's important is that you do your work and you do it well in order to help others get back to their old selves, or in order to inspire them to restore confidence in themselves.