When and Why Should You See a Physiotherapist?

Hi everyone!

Today’s blog is not going to be about a specific injury or condition, but rather an informative insight into when and why you should come see us.

Whenever I see patients, the first question I always ask is “have you been to a physiotherapist before?”. Unsurprisingly, at least 20% of the time, the answer is “no” followed by a self-admission of either being nervous because they’ve heard we “manipulate” the body or acknowledge that they “think we just give a good massage”.

So what is a Physiotherapist?

A Physiotherapist is an expert in the human body and its movement. A physiotherapist works with all ages to diagnose and treat a broad range of health conditions including sports related injuries, musculoskeletal conditions and chronic health conditions. Physiotherapists are also highly trained and skilled in managing a broad range of chronic general, neurological and respiratory conditions such as obesity, stroke and COPD.

A physiotherapist studies either a 4 year university degree at Bachelor level or a 2-3 year degree at postgraduate or doctoral level.

So do you still just give a massage or manipulate the body?

In a private practice setting, physiotherapists have a variety of tools and treatment modalities that they can utilise to achieve a treatment effect. In our clinic, our physiotherapists are trained in manual therapy and exercise prescription. Our physiotherapists have also obtained extra qualifications to perform Dry Needling.

So yes, we do in a sense ‘manipulate’ the body, but through very fine controlled movements without the large ‘thrust’ and ‘click’ that you might be accustomed to hearing about.
Similarly, we do perform a range of different massage techniques depending on what is required for the particular injury/condition.

A list of the main treatment modalities that we offer are listed below:

  • Manual therapy (joint mobilisations, soft/deep tissue massage, massage for swelling management)
  • Condition-specific exercise prescription
  • Acute and chronic injury management
  • General strengthening programs
  • Chronic disease management
  • Dry Needling
  • EMG muscle stimulation (if required)

    If you have any questions about any of the treatment techniques we offer, please don’t hesitate to ask!

    So will I leave the clinic with a diagnosis?

    We pride ourselves on accurate diagnosis and suitable treatment dependent on that diagnosis. Sure enough, you will leave the clinic with an accurate and easy to understand message on what the problem is and what we need to do about it!

    How do I know if I need to see a physiotherapist and not a GP?

    Many people are referred to us by GP’s for ongoing management and we refer the other way. Whether you see a physiotherapist or a GP first, if the condition can be managed by a physiotherapist you will be referred to us!

    Rest assured, if you haven’t seen a GP and you present to us first, if for whatever reason one of our physiotherapist’s feel that a medical opinion is necessary, we will certainly indicate that to you in your initial consultation! We are very transparent with our patients and if you indicate to us that you are experiencing any red flag symptoms (sudden weight loss, unremitting night pain, severe pain at rest, non-musculoskeletal patterning) we will refer you to the appropriate practitioner.

    Do I need a referral to come see a physiotherapist?

    No referral is required but if you have had any recent imaging to the area, please bring along the scan report and images so that it can form part of our physiotherapists clinical picture!

    So there you have it, if you need us, you know where to find us! If you still have more questions or aren’t sure about whether to see a physiotherapist, please call the clinic and ask to speak to one of us!

    Yours in Physiotherapy,

    ISO Physiotherapy


What Are Shin Splints?

‘Shin Splints’

So, you’ve decided to take up running during COVID19. You saw some running challenges going viral, or maybe your mates have decided to challenge each other with the best running times. You see they’ve been running anywhere from 4-10kms. You got up off the couch, bought some ‘running shoes’ and started your running journey. You were doing well for a couple of runs, even matching your mates times. You were probably on your fifth or sixth run and started to feel pain in your shin/s. You thought you could shake it off, but the more you ran, the worse it got. Then you rested for a few days, tried again, same thing again. It’s the height of your frustration.

Does this sound familiar?

You could have the age old ‘shin splints’.

What are Shin Splints?

If we’re being super picky about it, the actual term ‘shin splints’ is more of an overarching term that encompasses a variety of different pathologies along the length of the tibia. These pathologies can include injuries to the surrounding tendons, the tissue near the bone itself or on the actual bone. The actual medical term for shin splints is Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome but shin splints has become colloquial for these injuries mentioned above.

The most typical form of shin splints presents as pain/discomfort along the final 1⁄3 of the tibia (shin bone).

The Stress Continuum

Remember my story above, our typical couch to 10km runner with no middle ground, this is our typical scenario. Shin splints occurs when there is overstress or overloading to the shin bone beyond what it can normally tolerate and without progressive introduction of this load.

Shin splints are part of what’s called a ‘continuum’. The shin gets loaded with a normal level of stress, then it gets overloaded, then it gets overloaded even more, then it eventually forms a stress fracture. People can move back and forth from stage to stage (besides the fracture stage), and generally we tend to see people in the clinic who are early along this continuum, with only a small to moderate amount of discomfort. On occasion, we do see the far end of the spectrum where the overload has progressed beyond the failure point leading to a stress fracture.

What could cause such an injury?

There are some pretty common things that we expect to see when a patient presents to us with shin splints, and these are all indicative in the story you tell us. Most often, the things that can cause shin splints include:

  •  Tight and/or weak calves
  •  A recent sudden spike in training load (like our couch runner)
  •  Hill running
  •  Inappropriate footwear and/or flat feet
  •  Overweight

Are you sure it’s actually Shin Splints?

Well, pop down to our clinic and we’ll tell you 😉

We look for specific signs and symptoms to diagnose Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome. These include: pain on the inside and bottom part of your shin bone, significant tenderness over a portion of the shin bone, pain during and after a run, in more severe cases- pain before/during/after a run and pain at night and lastly pain when hopping.

N.B: these are generalised signs and symptoms which are known to be associated with Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome. Please see your physiotherapist for an accurate assessment and proper diagnosis to ensure these symptoms are not related to something other than what is presented in this blog.

How do we fix it?

We look at a bunch of different things to help address this injury. They will all be dependent on your own personal circumstances and goals!

More broadly, things that we generally look to address are: load management/activity modification, addressing any causative factors (flat feet, footwear, muscle strength imbalances, joint stiffness, muscle tightness) as well as a gradual and monitored return to running program.

So, if this is you- head on down to our trusted physio clinic in Bondi and we’ll get you running pain-free again!

Yours in health, ISO Physiotherapy


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