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The forgotten link to athletic success

Are you an aspiring Athlete? You need to read this!

Youth sport and athletic development are two of my greatest passions and being able to work with kids who love their sport and want to chase their dreams is such a privilege. So it’s lucky I live in a sporting nation such as Australia as I have had the opportunity to work with some truly great athletes.


The youth netball world cup was recently held in Botswana and the Australian 21/U team narrowly missed out on gold in a 57 to 60 point match with New Zealand. Now some of the girls in this team would certainly be aiming to get to a professional level but I want to talk about younger athletes and how to help them reach this level or higher.


So let’s talk about Sarah, she is 11 years old and loves netball, in fact she dreams of one day playing for the Diamonds when she grows up. What should her parents, school and coach do to give her the best chance of chasing her dream?


We have all heard it takes 10,000hr of practice to master a skill right? So doesn’t it make perfect sense that for a kid to become a great athlete that they need to start as early as possible?


Well sort of, a child’s brain is full of potential connections that are just waiting to be given the right stimulus to join together and build a more resilient and successful athlete. But there is a big difference between developing an athlete and building a netball player.


Early specialisation is often considered specialisation into a single sport before the age of 12 and can reduce an athlete’s chance of reaching the elite level of their sport compared to later specialisation in the later teenage years. Generally, it is recommend that kids continue to engage in approximately 2-3 different sporting fields to create better rounded athletes. This concept is what underpins long term athlete development. Early specialisation only refines a skill where engaging in a variety of activities helps to build true athleticism.


Another reason to rally against early specialisation is that it can increase the risk of overuse and stress injuries. Missing intended training sessions due to injury is one of the major predictors of failure to reach competitive success at a higher level but for youth athletes the focus should be on the development of the whole person and protecting kids from unnecessary injury.


Being involved in multiple sports also allows kids to grow their social circles and gain many other life skills that may help them well beyond a sporting career but it also gives them more options as they grow up. We can probably all think of someone who was great at a sport as a kid but due to either mental or physical burn out started hating the sport they once loved and gave it up. Developing athleticism also provides transferable skills that can be applied across sporting settings that enables you to try out new sports that others may not even have the confidence to get started on.


Kids are playing less and spending more time in formal organised sporting setting when they do get time to play at all. This is the opposite of what we want for youth athletes they should be engaging in diverse movements and leaning transferable sporting skills in their younger years. So while Sarah may love netball we should be encouraging her to participate in as many other sports as she can even if it is just to try them for a short period to provide her with a new learning opportunity.


Ultimately athletes who are missing the foundations of athleticism are not just missing a link to their performance and well being they are missing the foundation on which they can grow all their other athletic skills. While changing the system in which a youth athlete trains and performs may be impossible in the short term. Connecting with a uniquely skilled coach or physiotherapist to help establish a long term athletic development pathway is far more practical and will help prepare a growing athlete for all the challenges they have ahead.


At PhysioWest we can assist you to reach your potential and unlock the forgotten link! Make an appointment today by calling 8352 3582 or book online

Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

Published by Sam Stewart, Physiotherapist, PhysioWest



Is your Smart Phone killing you?

We all worry about EMF radiation from phones but this could be the least of your concerns!

As our new phones get smarter, faster and larger than ever before so too has our desire to use our phones and be in constant contact with others. More than ever we are becoming addicted to our phones.

We are spending a greater period of our day looking, using, researching and communicating on social media, phones are no longer a way just call someone.  If you look at any large building in the city at lunch time you see hundreds of people bent forward looking at their phones.

We get stressed when we send a text or message to someone and they don’t answer straight away. In our grandparent’s day, you would send a letter to someone and if you got a reply in a week you were impressed.


We go to the Gym to get fit and exercise but these days you see people doing one 30 second rep on a machine and then will sit and look at their phone for the next few mins and then do another rep of exercise. We need time in our day when we are Phone free and move freely not bent over looking at our Phones.

Having more time in your day taken up sitting or walking while looking down using your phone, means there is less time to be active. In a society where Obesity is at epidemic levels and is causing more medical problems such as Diabetes and Heart disease, the extra time we spend not being active and playing on our phones is a slow silent killer.

There should be an app designed that tells people how much shorter there life is calculated on the hours you spend on your phone.

So, if you find that at the end of you day you have tired shoulders, arms hurting, stiff neck and a head ache it may not be your job but your addiction / love affair for your phone.  As with people who work at work stations all day they need breaks and to do exercises to free up their tight and tired muscles and joints. The same can be said for extended use of your smart phones.

Physiotherapist’s are able to assist people to set a stretching and strengthening program in place to help with issues around using your Smart Phones. And you can even book online using your Smart Phone!

Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

Published by Glenn Watson, Physiotherapist, PhysioWest

Should I get an x-ray?

Do I need an X-ray for my lower back?

If you’ve ever had lower back pain before, you’ve probably thought about getting an xray. At the time it may seem reasonable given how severe lower back pain can feel in the first few days. The truth is that having imaging of your lower back may be doing more harm than good, and in most cases is entirely unnecessary.


If you have imaging such as an X-ray or MRI of your lower back, it is likely that the results will come back with scary words such as disc bulge or joint degeneration. Seeing these phrases can result in harmful behaviours such as avoiding movement in fear of further “damaging” your lower back. This will more than likely increase the level of pain that you are experiencing.


The reality is that these age-related changes are completely normal, and can be found in more than a third of people from 20-40 years old, and more than half of people over 40.That means that if I went and had an X-ray of my lower back, there is a good chance that the results would come back with some form of disc bulge or degeneration, even though I don’t have back pain!


So what should I do?

Lower back pain is usually very painful in the first few days, but the most important thing to do is to get up and get moving. The worst thing you can do is lie in bed or sit on the couch all day, thinking only about how sore your back is.


At PhysioWest, a thorough assessment of your lower back will be performed by a physiotherapist to determine the cause of your back pain, and will refer you for imaging if necessary. Imaging is usually only indicated if we suspect a more serious cause, or if your back pain is caused by trauma.


If you are experiencing lower back pain, book an appointment with a physiotherapist at PhysioWest who will be able to offer you some relief and get you up and moving. Book online or by calling 8352 3582.

Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

Published by Spencer Davis, Physiotherapist, PhysioWest



How to prevent injuries during netball finals

September is just around the corner, and we all know what that means…



For those of you that belong to a sporting club or team, September can be one of the most exciting times of the year. Whether you’re a player gearing up for your chance at victory, a coach finalising your team strategies for the win, or a spectator making arrangements to support your favourite team, it can be a month full of determination, anxiety, optimism and hopefully joy and excitement when your team wins!


For me, finals are coming up in a couple weeks, and I’m seeking my second grand final win in a row for the Moonta Netball Club. The only thing more motivating than reminiscing about last years victory would have to be the recent under 21 Netball World youth cup, with Australia dominating throughout the tournament only to be defeated by the arch nemesis New Zealand by 3 goals!! The disappointment felt for these girls only makes me more determined to win.


One of the most disheartening events during finals time is injuring yourself in one of the final games of the round or even worse, the semi-final! The rate of injury for netballers is 14 injuries per 1,000 hours played with the most common being knee and ankle injuries. I have been unlucky enough to have sustained ankle injuries in more than one semi- final, and reluctantly had to sit on the bench to watch my team win the grand final without me. I wouldn’t wish this on any player, which is why I have come up with a few tips and tricks to help prevent injuries in the most important games of the season!



  1. Make sure you warm up properly

There’s nothing worse than admitting to your physio that you skipped the warm up at training or a game, right before you injured yourself. Heading towards the end of the season, players and coaches often move through the warm up quickly, or skip it all together in order to spend more time on “important” things like game play and tactics. A good warm up should consist of exercises and drills that target the four key elements associated with an increased risk of injuries in netball – take off, landing, deceleration and change of direction. If you’’re not sure what exercises or drills are best for injury prevention, Netball Australia’s Knee Injury prevention for Netballers to Enhance performance and Extend play (KNEE program) was developed to provide education and specific warm up drills and exercises to prevent lower limb injuries, in particular – the dreaded ACL injury! Speak to your physiotherapist to find out more information about the KNEE program, and how to implement it into your teams warm up.


  1. Hold off from buying new shoes for netball finals

I know some players or parents of players that have a tradition of buying new netball shoes right before finals. It can be motivating for the player, and yes – it may feel like you can run faster and jump higher with your brand new shoes, BUT… there is evidence to suggest that >50% of players injured whilst playing netball were wearing brand new shoes, or relatively new shoes. New shoes can decrease your body’s awareness of where the foot is, and therefore reduce your ability to correct your foot position to prevent injury. If possible, try to wear your new shoes to a few trainings first to wear them in before wearing them in a game, or save your purchase for next season!




  1. Wear appropriate ankle supports for training AND game

Physio West | Sports Physiotherapy | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.Ankle injuries are one of the most common injuries in Netball. You may have already sprained your ankle once or twice before. Having a history of ankle sprains or instability can increase your risk of re-injury. Wearing an ankle brace or taping your ankles can assist in preventing sprains in Netball. If you already tape your ankles or wear a brace, finals time should be no different – even if you have felt confident throughout the season. Better to be safe than sorry! If you are unsure about how to tape your ankle properly, speak to your physio. When it comes to tape vs brace… it comes down to personal preference as both have been shown as effective.


  1. See your physio about any niggling pain or injuries

If you have any ongoing pain or injuries that you have been pushing through, or trying to manage during the season, come and speak to us! We want you to play finals as much as you do, and can offer advice or hands on treatment to help you improve your performance and finish your season to the best of your ability. Seeking prompt treatment for injuries will not only enable you to start your rehab sooner, it will ensure you reach your full potential and ultimately make sure your team gets the win!


If you are about to embark on a finals campaign come and see us at PhysioWest at our Mile End or Salisbury clinics

Published by Megan Jones, Physiotherapist, PhysioWest

Remembering Betty

Raising Awareness for Multiple Sclerosis & Moving better with Neurological Physiotherapy

Life is what you make of it, whether you are completely healthy or whether you have a neurological condition. Evidence of this lies with Betty Cuthbert, who was a four time Olympic Gold Medallist who passed away this month at the age of 79. Betty was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in her 30s and an active campaigner for Multiple Sclerosis. In her 50s, Betty’s mobility was limited to her wheelchair, but that didn’t prevent her from being a final torchbearer at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Betty was quoted as saying “Never give up, never give up – Think of what you can do.”

This beautifully encapsulates one of the main principles in neurological physiotherapy. Rather than focusing on a persons’ impairment, we look at the whole person and focus on what they can do to help them live their life to the fullest. All physiotherapists integrate this principle from the International Classification of Functioning (ICF).

As shown the in above diagram, there are two sides to every element of health and functioning. For example, take the body structure of your quadriceps (the muscle group in the front your thigh which helps you stand and walk). If you hurt this muscle group, an activity such as standing at the sink to do your dishes might be too hard, and you might not want to participate in going for a long walk down the beach with your friend or partner. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you are bed ridden. You may still be able to go for shorter walks or stand with the assistance of an aid. If you have an acute injury such as a sports injury, the activities you do might change just over the short term. But with a neurological condition such as MS, your activities and participation might change over the long term, and may fluctuate over time; this is understandably frustrating. What is needed here is to analyse what you can do (maybe do a shorter walk) as well as what personal factors (a determined mind) and what environmental factors (good walking shoes, maybe a stick or crutches) will help you keep moving.


Betty Cuthbert was an inspiring Australian athlete who followed this principle of looking at the whole picture to make the most of her life. PhysioWest would like to recognise Betty’s inspiring work and send condolences to all who knew Betty.


If you would like more information on Multiple Sclerosis, please visit to MS Australia Website:


If you or someone close to you has a neurological condition such as MS and would like some help to get moving consult at PhysioWest today! I have a special interest in Neuro Physiotherapy and consult Monday to Friday at both our Mile End and Salisbury clinics.


Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

Published by Laura Hundertmark, Physiotherapist, PhysioWest



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Joel Selwood’s ankle injury explained

As the Swans increased their top 4 hopes after beating the Cats last Friday night, it was the sub-plot down at Geelong that made all the headlines in Saturday morning’s newspaper. Inspirational captain, Joel Selwood, hobbled off in the third quarter, picking up a nasty ankle injury.

It has since been confirmed that Selwood sustained a “syndesmosis” injury, ruling him out for the remainder of the home and away season, and a doubt for finals. A dagger to the heart of many Geelong fans I’m sure. So what is the “syndesmosis”?

An ankle syndesmosis injury is often called a “high ankle sprain”. It refers to the ligamentous structure or fibrous sheath which holds the two bones of your leg together (the tibia and fibula). The syndesmosis is commonly injured under an extreme dorsiflexion and external rotation force (wedged rotation), as Selwood found with his foot wedged under Franklin on Friday night.  This forceful compression causes the two bones of the leg to wedge apart, compromising the syndesmosis.

Like with any ligament injury, their severity is graded. Unfortunately for Joel, surgical intervention was decided, indicating a high grade injury or rupture to the tissue. This surgery usually involves pinning the two bones together, allowing the ligament to scar over in a shortened and stable position. For the average punter, 3-6 months rehabilitation is recommended, but at the elite level the boundaries are always pushed.

So will we see Selwood again this year? The Cats doctors and physios will be optimistic of Selwood featuring in their finals campaign, but it will certainly be pushing it. This is not your classic ankle sprain so caution must be taken.

This time last year, the Bulldogs Tom Liberatore missed 4 weeks with the same injury, before playing four weeks of finals and lifting the Premiership. Stephen Coniglio of GWS however hasn’t been as lucky, missing 6 weeks at the start of this season followed by 10 weeks mid year after re-injury in his second game back. Cats fans will be crossing their fingers for a Liberatore story here.

If you have injured your ankle, be sure to consult with your physio.  As in Selwood’s case, it may be more complex than anticipated, and a thorough assessment and rehab will minimise the risk of ongoing troubles in the future.


Our team at PhysioWest are skilled in the assessment and rehabilitation of ankle injuries. If you or someone you know is suffering from an ankle injury be sure to book online today!

Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

Prepared by Matt Nowosilsky, Physiotherapist, PhysioWest

Physio West | Back Pain | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

My back is out… Where did it go?

As physio’s, we hear some really strong and scary language when it comes to describing injuries.

“I’ve thrown my back out”

 “My knee is gone”

“It’s grinding bone on bone”

“I have a pinched nerve”

“My back is out of whack – you need to realign it”

“I was told my nerve is being crushed by a huge buldging disc”

Maybe you’ve been told these things by a medical professional, or maybe you are just describing the way it feels because it really, really hurts. Either way, there are some pretty scary thoughts there. Pinching, grinding, crushing – Makes me sore just thinking about it. As nasty as they may sound, how realistic are they?


Pain science research is growing at the speed of knots, with some real shifts in the way we think about pain. One thing is clear:

Pain does not always equal damage.

Pain is our body’s protection mechanism to threat or danger.

When our brain detects a perceived threat, it will send out a pain response to that area as a warning signal. This will cause us to move and behave differently to look after that spot, minimising the risk of damage. So as much as pain sucks, you can see it is actually a very important protective response.


Tricky to get your head around, I know.


I’m not saying your pain isn’t real, or that it is all in your head, but the power of language cannot be under-estimated, as it often feeds the pain response and reinforces those negative images. Scary language can add to the threat of an injury, increasing your pain.


As physiotherapists, we can help you unravel some of those more threatening thoughts like your back being out, to dampen down the threat, leading to less pain.


If you are having trouble with pain that you can’t get on top of, come in for an assessment with one of our physiotherapists who will help determine the source of your symptoms, and help you understand them better to assist your recovery.


Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

Published by Matt Nowosilkyj

Physiotherapist, PhysioWest