Physios worried at ‘quick fix’ operations

Two county team physiotherapists have expressed concern about how many players are opting for surgery as a "quick fix" solution to injuries.

In a Twitter conversation with other colleagues, Donegal physio Dermot Simpson said operations are regarded by footballers and hurlers as the shortest route back to the playing field.

“If they are getting as far as the hospital it should be up to them to decide if surgery is the best/only option. Many players are referred directly by GP with little or no rehab. They are looking for a ‘quick fix’ which we know doesn’t always work. The hospital/surgeon should be 100% confident that surgery is the best choice for player for that injury and at that age.”

Simpson was backed up by Armagh senior footballers’ physio Paul Carragher. “Seems to be a tendency to opt for surgery too quickly in some quarters.”

However, James Carolan, a physio in Sports Surgery Clinic’s musculoskeletal department, believes some of the onus for best care of players has to fall on physios and coaches.

“If players with hip/groin pain are getting that far, it’s because they were poorly managed. Up to us as physios, s&c, coaches to manage their load/rehab appropriately. How do we change surgeons practice? Get people better and surgeons will not operate. They are seeing people ‘treated’ for months no better. Not pro-surgery in any way, but we need to improve how we look after this group.”

Carragher stressed: “If they see patients who are no better after months of treatment they should ask regarding content of treatment. If rehab has not been adequate this should be addressed before opting for surgery.”

&On the issue of cruciates and why so many cruciate injuries crop up this time of year, Limerick’s Dr James O’Donovan remarked: “Match/training load is key. Overload at this time of year causes changes neuromuscular patterns predisposing to injury.”


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