An Athletic Therapist provides specific assessments including biomechanical gait analysis, posture assessment as well as joint and soft tissue assessment. Injuries are assessed in isolation to the area, how they relate to the limb, and to the whole body. The goal of the assessment is to identify the problem and to develop a proper treatment plan to quickly and effectively return then client to full function.
A combination of manual therapy and individualized exercise programs are used to enhance the healing process. Manual therapy includes soft tissue release, joint mobilizations, massage, myofascial and trigger point release, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (which focuses on movements as a whole instead of individual muscles working in isolation) if needed.
Therapeutic Modalities that are used include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), therapeutic ultrasound, interferential current (IFC), thermotherapy and cryotherapy. Exercises are prescribed individually to re-educate muscle firing patterns or resolve bilateral muscle imbalances and will change as the patient moves successfully through all the stages of healing. Exercise programs will vary in intensity depending on the client’s activity level or level of competition. Maintenance programs are then designed after the client achieves 80% strength bilaterally and has full pain free range of motion in the joints affected.
Athletic Therapists do not treat systemic diseases, visceral or organ injuries or conditions, digestive or gastrointestinal conditions, skin conditions. Manipulations of joints are not in an Athletic Therapist’s scope of practice.
Scope of Practice
Scope of Practice of an Athletic Therapy includes the assessment, prevention, immediate care, and reconditioning of musculoskeletal injuries or conditions. Prevention includes musculoskeletal and postural evaluation, equipment selection and fitting, warm-up routines and conditioning programs, prophylactic or supportive taping, and adapting the athlete to the environment and facilities.