Sports massage is a popular form of treatment and prevention of soft tissue sports injuries. We demonstrate simple sports massage techniques and explain the benefits, effects and contraindications of massage.
- A contraindication is a situation when massage should not be performed.
- Continuing with treatment may be more detrimental than beneficial and in some cases may cause serious medical problems.
More on Massage contraindications
Benefits of sports massage
- Sports massage can play an important part in the life of any sportsman or woman whether they are injured or not.
- Massage has a number of benefits both physical, physiological and psychological.
More on Massage benefits & effects
Lower Leg & Ankle Massage
Calf strain – Sports massage for calf strains can be used after the initial acute phase has finished. Do not massage in the first 5 days post-injury.
Shin splints – Sports massage & myofascial release for shin splints/medial tibial stress may be beneficial after the first 3 days or so. It is important to avoid the bone as this may worsen symptoms.
Ankle sprain – Cross friction massage can be applied to ankle ligaments can help prevent and realign scar tissue. Massage can also be applied to the calf muscles to aid recovery.
Achilles tendonitis – Sports massage techniques can help with the treatment of Achilles tendon pain. Massage mobilizes the tissues and helps align scar tissue.
Knee Injury Massage
Jumper’s knee – Sports massage can help with treating patella tendinopathy (jumper’s knee). In particular, cross friction massage is applied to the patella tendon.
Thigh & Groin Massage
Hamstring strain – Sports Massage or soft tissue massage or soft tissue massage can be used at this stage but the pressure must be very light and superficial, to begin with, but can gradually get deeper as the days/weeks pass.
Thigh strain – Sports massage may be beneficial after the initial acute stage.
Groin strain – Sports massage may be beneficial once the acute stage has passed. Caution is advised as massaging an injury too soon may increase the bleeding and may make the injury worse.
Arm & Elbow Massage
Tennis elbow – Massage can be a useful treatment for tennis elbow, particularly more chronic conditions. In particular cross friction massage of the tendon insertion but only once the initial inflammation has settled (after 5 days) is done.
AC joint sprain massage – cross friction massage techniques for the acromio-clavicular joint at the top of the shoulder.
Professionalism & Ethics in sports massage
There are certain standards of behaviour and attitude that should be expected from your sports massage therapist. We are not all perfect all the time but below are a few simple ideas that you should expect from a professional sports massage therapist.
The sports massage therapist should always wash their hands before beginning treatment. Even if they have only just washed them they should be washed again so the client knows they have been washed.
As a paying client, you should expect the therapist to give you their undivided attention for the duration of the appointment. They should not be stopping to answer the telephone or chat with others.
They should not under any circumstances discuss other clients with you. If they talk freely about them, who knows what they are saying about you once you leave the room?
The therapist should not unload their own personal problems on you. Developing a rapport is important and they should be good listeners but they should keep their own problems to themselves.
Where possible the sports massage therapist should guard against emotional involvement. They will be a good listener, and offer good advice but should keep a professional distance and not become emotionally involved.
The massage therapist should take your views of what is required but should make their own decisions on how treatment should be carried out. They are the qualified professionals to treat them with respect and allow them to do their jobs!
Most sports massage therapists will wear a white coat or uniform. This projects a professional image. It will also prevent unsightly oil stains on clothes. When you are referred to a massage therapist by a doctor or other qualified person then you should expect their instructions to be carried out to the letter and not added to or altered by the massage therapist.
You should not be accepted for treatment by a massage therapist if you are being treated for the same problem by someone else. The massage therapist may interfere with the treatment you have previously had. You should expect the sports massage therapist to keep up to date records of treatments given.