The regulating body of sports therapy, The Society of Sports Therapists, describes sports therapy as ‘an aspect of healthcare that is specifically concerned with the prevention of injury and the rehabilitation of the patient back to optimum levels of functional, occupational and sports specific fitness, regardless of age and ability.’
Sports therapy and physiotherapy are similar in many ways. Both focus on treating musculoskeletal disorders, pain and injury through rehabilitation and patient education. Professionals working in both disciplines are trained to a high level to expertly assess, diagnose and help with injury recovery.
The key differences are that physiotherapists have a medical background which enables them to treat a broader range of medical conditions. Sports therapists deal specifically with sporting injuries and rehabilitation for patients aiming to return to exercise.
Every injury presents itself differently, depending on the severity, location of the injury and wether it is in an acute stage or a chronic stage. This will be assessed by your practitioner and a treatment will be agreed upon, as everyone has a different pain threshold and understanding of various treatments. Your practitioner will ask you to give feedback on the scale of pain, which ranges from 0-10, 10 being the most excruciating. Your pain is likely to range from 4-8.
Sports massage and sports therapy both help with the prevention and rehabilitation of injuries caused by strenuous physical activity.
The differences are that sports therapy can include advice on diet and physical exercise with a focus on overall health to get the patient back to full recovery. Sports massage on the other hand relieves areas of pain and tightness in the muscles to increase mobility and relaxation.
You get hot and sweaty when you run so breathable fabrics that help moisture evaporate such as polyester are essential. In cooler weather, you should wear a synthetic base layer to draw the sweat away from your skin. A mid layer such as a fleece will keep the warmth in and an outer layer such as a lightweight water-resistant jacket will protect you from the wind and rain. Comfortable running shoes are a must. Avoid wearing cotton tops as they soak up moisture, take longer to dry and will make you feel cold.