Sports Osteopathy: Sports Injuries. Dynamic Osteopaths

Osteopaths are increasingly  becoming a key provider of physical therapy and sports medicine within sports. Furthermore, osteopathic medical research is becoming larger within the National Institute of Clinical Excellence. 

The use of manual medicine or joint manipulation for the treatment of athletic injuries dates back thousands of years. The osteopathic approach to sports related injuries is a unique one. Athletic performance related to a particular sports is broadly viewed as musculoskeletal efficiency. The body, including cardiovascular and pulmonary systems has to be finely tuned to the increasing demands placed upon them by the musculoskeletal system. The athlete is subject to biomechanical, strength and flexibility demands in relation to a particular sport. Therefore the aims within sports osteopathy is to go beyond providing relief of immediate symptoms, but to promote function of homeostatic and protective properties of the body so the body can heal optimally whilst promoting injury prevention. 

Sport Examples:


  • Stinger/ Burner – Burning pain from the shoulder to hand/ tackling injury where the shoulder and neck are stretched apart causing tension on the nerves.
  • Dislocation/ subluxation – Often caused by the arm being fully stretched out to your side and upwards/ usually requires re-location and possible operation if a recurrent problem.
  • Shoulder AC joint – Chronic pain at the shoulder end of the collar bone/ normally caused by wear and tear and damage to the AC ligaments.
  • Labral tears – Damage to cartilage in the shoulder joint/ can be caused by scoring a try with the arm outstretched or by recurrent dislocations
  • Spinal injuries – joint and muscular pain.


  • Rotator cuff – (as discussed earlier)/ an impingement of the tendons/ can be an acute injury or a chronic wear and tear
  • Posterior instability (leading shoulder) – repeated swinging of the club can lead to overstretching of the muscles and joint at the back of the shoulder
  • Anterior instability (non-leading shoulder) – an unstable feeling of the shoulder as the ball slips slightly from the socket (normally felt at the front of the joint)
  • Chronic low back pain – related to local chronic inflammation around the joints in the lumber spine.


  • Look out for a change in stroke pattern
  • Pain in the recovery phase is normally an impingement (as mentioned previously)
  • Pain in the pull-through phase is normally a labrum injury or a rotator cuff injury

What we can do at Dynamic Osteopaths:

Firstly, it is imperative to diagnose what tissue is causing your pain. This is done by the use of a few tests to determine the cause of the problem, following a case history as to how the injury occurred and any previous problems or injuries you may have had, and then moving onto examining your complaint. There are some very simple “mobility testing movements” as well as orthopaedic tests we can do that will give us a very clear idea about your injury. Once we know the cause of the problem we can then see about getting you back on the road to full fitness. Hopefully it’s just a case of a series of treatments as well as a course of exercises to promote you rehabilitation. It may be that your injury requires further investigation in which case we can refer you to a local specialist to discuss your options.

Case study:

– 28 year old professional footballer with a 2 year history of left side groin strain.

– Despite cases of rest, NSAIDs and cortisone steroid injection, the complaint has continues and spread into the lower back and buttock, in addition to recurrent calf strains. An Osteopath was then called in by the club doctor for a second opinion. 

– Osteopathic examination relieved no abnormalities of basic neurological and cardiovascular examination. However, among all the various positive findings, those that were of relevance were; an anteriorly rotated right iliac innominate, an absence of back-locking of both knees, a fixation of the lumbosacral joint on the left into extension, reduced active and passive thoracic rotation and various muscular imbalances.

– Treatment plan: mobilisation of the right ilium into posterior, mobilization of the thoracic spine, which inevitably was a factor including in the LSJ/SIJ restriction. Mobilisation of L1/2/3 on the right, decompression of the left LSJ (thus reducing the effects of sciatic nerve compression) and stretching out the hamstrings and popliteus to allow for increased knee extension. A further foot examination and correction was also provided.

– The player responded very well and was fully playing again within 6 weeks.

Dynamic Osteopaths regularly see sports injuries and provided sports-related rehabilitation on a frequent basis.

For further information please contact us a Dynamic Osteopaths /




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