What do Physiotherapists do in Rugby?

Nov 21, 2022

I hope it goes without saying that we provide more than the ‘magic sponge & bucket’ approach! Physios working in Rugby provide on and off-pitch injury care and rehabilitation as well as injury prevention. On-pitch injury care tends involve trauma and first aid for anything from blood injuries to more serious and life-threatening/changing concussions and spinal fractures. Off-pitch care includes pre-game taping and injury assessment to check ability to play and rehabilitation and injury prevention advice and management.

It’s clear that the nature of playing Rugby involves serious physicality – a high risk sports for potentially injuring most areas of the body! However, there are some injuries we tend to se mere frequently than others:

  1. Shoulder injuries: due to the impact nature during scrummaging and tackling, shoulders are vulnerable to injuries such as dislocations, rotator cuff tears and acromio-claviclular joint (ACJ – collar bone)
  2. Neck injuries: again the neck and head tend to lead gong into tackles and scrums and forceful compression can cause anything from minor injuries such sprains and ‘stingers’ (nerve trauma) to more serious spinal fractures. This is where on-pitch assessment is of the upmost importance in efficiently deciding a potential diagnosis management.
  3. Knee Injuries: it’s clear rugby involves a lot of changing direction and tackling at high speed which creates high demand on the knees. Ligament and meniscal (cartilage) injuries are commonly seen in rugby. In fact, there is a high prevalence of rugby players that have a deficient/ruptured ACL but are in such good physical condition they manage to return to playing without surgery – and actually some don’t even know they have ever injured it!
  4. Finger/hand injuries: grabbing and catching can often cause finger injuries including tendon tears and dislocations.

The biggest different between clinic based Physio’s and ones in Rugby, is the extra training required to be able to reliably assess the more serious trauma injuries, including concussion/head injuries, spinal fractures and CPR. It’s a highly responsible role where at many levels Physio’s are the first point of contact and take the lead over other medical staff on and off the pitch.

At Physio Space we have several Specialist Sports Physiotherapists who have a wealth of experience with Rugby related injuries – we can provide the off-pitch assessment, diagnosis and injury management & rehabilitation to get you back on the pitch! The RTP ie. ‘return to play ‘journey is one that requires expert opinion and advice to ensure your risk of re-injury is minimised and performance optimised! Let is know if this is letting we can help with!