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Physiotherapy Vs. Athletic Therapy—Know the Difference

Physiotherapy Vs. Athletic Therapy—Know the Difference

Physiotherapy Vs. Athletic Therapy—Know the Difference

It’s not uncommon to see people use the terms physiotherapy and athletic therapy interchangeably. However, while these are closely related, they refer to different professions. If you are not an expert in this field, it can be confusing to know the difference, and you may wonder when to choose one over the other. In this post, we look at physiotherapy vs. athletic therapy and highlight the differences. Read on!

What is Athletic Therapy

Athletic therapists provide quick, on-field emergency professional care to elite athletes. In other words, they provide assessment and rehabilitation when someone gets hurt.

But athletic therapists don’t just specialize in on-field emergency care. They also help with postural analysis, functional movement programs, physical conditioning, and sport-specific training. In addition, they treat repetitive strains, workplace injuries, soft tissue injuries, and pre and post-surgical conditions.

Many people can benefit from athletic therapy, including:

  • Those with minor musculoskeletal injuries
  • Active people who want to recover and strengthen injured body parts
  • Athletes and performers

What About Physiotherapy?

Like athletic therapists, physiotherapists assess and treat injuries. However, the latter uses manual therapy, modalities, and prescribed exercises to evaluate and treat injuries.

Physiotherapists work to restore or improve a patient’s function and strength. Ideally, physiotherapy relies primarily on movement to activate inner body healing mechanisms to gain strength.

People with these conditions can benefit from physiotherapy:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Arthritis
  • Back and neck pain
  • Bursitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Pre and post-surgery rehab
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Concussions
  • And many more.

As you can see from the above list, you don’t have to suffer injury to see a physiotherapist. You can use physiotherapy to improve your fitness and overall body function.

Physiotherapy Vs. Athletic—Therapy What are the Differences? 

Let’s outline four key differences between these two professions:

Scope of Practice:

Athletic therapists primarily concentrate on sports-related injuries, such as shin splints and hamstring strains. Their expertise is often derived from extensive exposure to sporting environments.

Physiotherapists also address sports injuries but have a broader focus, encompassing a variety of injuries and disorders. They can treat conditions with neurological and respiratory components, making them suitable for patients with diverse health issues, not limited to sports-related concerns.

Types of Activities:

Physiotherapists design treatment plans to rehabilitate patients for a return to general activities related to their occupation, recreational interests, or even sports without the intense physical training demanded by serious athletes.

Athletic therapists concentrate on preparing patients for specific sporting activities, tailoring rehabilitation techniques to meet the rigorous demands athletes face.

Route to Qualification:

Athletic therapists need a bachelor’s degree and practical internship hours and must pass board examinations for a practicing license.

Physiotherapists require not only a bachelor’s degree but also a master’s degree, covering various subjects such as orthopedics, cardio-respiratory rehabilitation, pediatrics, and neurological disorders. They must also complete practical hours and exams to obtain a license.

Areas of Specialized Training:

Both professions share some areas of specialized training, including Kinesio Taping and Personal Training/Strength.

Physiotherapists, however, have unique specializations like orthopedic manipulation, dry needling, and women’s health, setting them apart from athletic therapists. Dry needling, for instance, is a specialized procedure exclusively available to physiotherapists.

Physiotherapy Vs. Athletic Therapy—How They Complement Each Other?

Collaboration between physiotherapists and athletic therapists can help improve rehabilitation and sports performance. Physiotherapists, armed with extensive anatomy, physiology, and overall health knowledge, contribute a comprehensive perspective to the collaborative effort.

On the other hand, athletic therapists specialize in the unique biomechanics and demands associated with sports-related injuries.

This collaboration involves a seamless exchange of insights and skills. Physiotherapists excel in developing multifaceted treatment plans that address the root causes of ailments and promote overall wellness. Meanwhile, athletic therapists bring their sports-specific expertise to the table, offering targeted interventions for sports injuries.

The result is a holistic approach that considers the intricacies of an individual’s health while catering to the specialized needs of the specific sports activity.

How Individuals Can Benefit from a Combined Approach

The path to optimal recovery and peak performance is a personalized journey. Integrating the expertise of both physiotherapists and athletic therapists offers individuals a tailored approach to their well-being.

Physiotherapists conduct thorough assessments to identify underlying issues and devise holistic treatment plans. These plans encompass therapeutic exercises, manual therapies, and modalities tailored to individual needs to address immediate concerns and improve long-term health.

On the other hand, athletic therapists focus on targeted rehabilitation exercises, preventive strategies, and sports-specific interventions. This approach provides a more specialized and effective recovery process.

Ultimately, individuals benefit from a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses their immediate concerns, promotes overall health, and enhances their performance capabilities.

Physiotherapy Vs. Athletic Therapy—Which is Right for you?

Both athletic therapy and physiotherapy can help reduce pain and return function to affected body parts. However, if you need a comprehensive assessment to determine the root cause of the problem, physiotherapy can provide a safe and effective way to achieve that.

Ultimately, you may need to do your due diligence when choosing a professional to work with. Sometimes, you may need to share codependence with your target service provider through their various communication channels. If you have to share your sensitive health information via text, ensure that the service provider uses tools that ensure secure texting for healthcare service providers.

Physiotherapy Vs. Athletic Therapy—Where to Get the Best Professional?

Now that you know the main differences between physiotherapy and athletic therapy, you may wonder where you can connect with the right professional. LGBTQandAll has resources to help you choose the best professional for your well-being. In addition to physiotherapists and athletic therapists, we have mental health resources to help support your mental health.

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