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Aquatic Hydrotherapy / Physiotherapy: Rehabilitation of Athletic Injuries

Rehabilitation for sports and traumatic injuries may often require patients to stop training and literally rest. And knowing athletes and sporty individuals, this will frustrate them.

A lot.

Let me give you an example, say ankle injuries, which are the most common musculoskeletal injury that happen in both recreational and competitive athletes. Unfortunately, ankle sprains are never “fully” treated — more than 40%+ of ankle sprains are not new, but recurrent, and over time, this will become chronic ankle instability (CAI) and worse, lead to ankle osteoarthritis…which can kill the person’s ability to participate in normal walking, much less recreational or competitive sports.

A standard ankle sprain will require an athlete to rest at least 2-4+ weeks, with NO participation at all in any trainings or competitions. With 2-4 weeks of complete rest and inactivity, the athlete can lead to quite a big drop in cardiovascular fitness.

A six-week long rest and inactivity can lose the athlete up to 15% of VO2 max (maximum oxygen consumption)!

Also, controlled stress in / through injured ligaments through functional physiotherapy and rehabilitation will help the collagen fibers in the injured ligaments to align better, leading to better function and outcome. This means active physiotherapy and hand therapy can help the injured athlete / individual to recover better and faster.

That’s why physiotherapy and hand therapy is started as soon as possible, even within the first couple of days post injury, but we will definitely provide therapy within the boundaries of injury / wound healing.

This leads us to speak about

Hydrotherapy, or aquatic physiotherapy

Aquatic physiotherapy is done in water, and this aquatic environment is suitable for early physiotherapy because of #1 main reason: buoyancy.

Buoyancy offloads and decreases the effects of gravity PLUS provides assistance (and resistance, when we want to).

Doing joint range of movement exercises whilst semi-supported in the buoyancy of water helps with

  • minimizing excessive muscle activation
  • supported muscle and joint movement
  • less pain activation

Buoyancy also

  • Enables partial weightbearing of bones and/or joints that would not tolerate full body weight e.g. post fracture
  • Provides support for the spine allowing for safer and earlier physiotherapy
  • Allows for greater range of motion and flexibility and still in support by water
  • Safer as there’s little to no risk of falls

And it’s easier to transition to gravity resisted movement onland, which includes

  • dynamic strengthening
  • dynamic conditioning
  • dynamic balance training
  • cardiovascular endurance

Hydrotherapy or aquatic physiotherapy can help athletes and active individuals to return to sports and exercise early as well as accelerate the therapy process as a whole.

Common conditions suitable for aqua physio or hydrotherapy

  • Neck Pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Lower Back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Sports Injury
  • Joint Conditions including knee pain, shoulder pain
  • Post surgery therapy
  • Fractures that Require Minimal Weight-Bearing
  • Stroke
  • Balance
  • Pregnancy-related pelvic, hip and back pains
  • Parkinsons Disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis

Recommended product for aquatic physiotherapy

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