- Micaela Zettel, PT, MScPT, BScHK(hons), CMAG
Female Sports Medicine at Instil Physio
Updated: Feb 14, 2021
A field of rehabilitation science that is dedicated to the treatment and prevention of sports specific injuries relating to female athletes (spanning from youth through to postpartum and beyond).
Why is it important?
Female athletes experience changes in their bodies at puberty, and then during and after child birth that men do not. These changes can affect their performance and risk for injury.
Females of all ages can benefit from a treatment and training approach that considers their unique needs.
Youth Female Athlete Concerns
A common issue, although not normal and often not talked about, is that many female athletes are suffering from stress urinary incontinence despite never having had children. Some may say, “well so what?”. Here’s the thing, if your female athlete is leaking urine when running, jumping or throwing, they are failing to control intra-abdominal pressure. This is a sign of a deeper dysfunction which may express itself as knee pain, back pain, shoulder pain, hip pain and so on. An athlete with leaking and/or pain is an athlete that is not performing at their best. It is important to bring awareness to common issues, to provide education regarding injury prevention and pelvic health, and to arm athletes with the tools necessary to excel in sport and fitness for years to come. To read more about this common issue in female athletes, check out this blog: Female Athlete's Leaking Urine? What?
Prenatal Women’s Health
As women progress and grow through their pregnancy, there are many changes that occur, including postural and pressure changes within the abdomen. These can contribute to many physical and functional issues, such as abdominal muscle weakness, pubic symphysis pain, sacroiliac joint pain, pelvic/groin pain, hip pain, low back pain, rib pain/discomfort, urinary incontinence and prolapse. These symptoms can be common during pregnancy but they are not normal.
Many of the issues that arise during pregnancy can be a result of postural changes and a weakening, or rather an un-coordinated group of core muscles (which includes the diaphragm, pelvic floor and transverse abdominal muscles). It can be helpful to learn about your posture, breathing pattern and coordination of your pelvic floor with your breath so you can move well throughout your pregnancy. If you are having any of the above symptoms, one of our physiotherapists can help to manage the changes that occur throughout your pregnancy and treat the injuries or dysfunction to keep you moving.
Postnatal Women’s Health
After delivering a baby, (vaginally or via cesarean section), there are many women who continue to have urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic pain, back pain and a diastasis rectus abdominis. Many of these symptoms can persist and do not resolve on their own. Our physiotherapists have a special interest in training post partum women on how to restore their optimal posture and core function, treating many of these symptoms and injuries. We use an external assessment approach to evaluate how you are coordinating your breath, pelvic floor and transverse abdominal muscles, as well as your posture and movement patterns. The focus is on teaching you how to properly coordinate this system and integrate it into your daily life or activities and combining it with exercises specific to your concern(s).
Other Women’s Health Concerns
Whether or not you have had children, if you are experiencing urinary incontinence, symptoms of pelvic pain, hip pain, back pain, or you are a female recovering from an injury, Instil Physio can help you. Our physiotherapists, have a special interest in women’s health and retraining the core. Using an external method, we can teach you how to properly coordinate and activate your core (which includes your diaphragm, pelvic floor and transverse abdominal muscles) to address your concerns, whether recovering from an injury or suffering from incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. There is an abundance of research informing us that we need to be addressing your posture as well as how you breath and activate your core to help you recover from your injury and treat your symptoms.
**We would like you to know that Micaela, our physiotherapist, works closely with female athletes at all stages of life using an external approach to the pelvic floor. Our role is to train female athletes how to integrate their core system to meet the demands of their chosen sport/fitness activity. We address the system and how it is functioning during and points of change in a female athlete's life, such as puberty, pre and post natal, post-surgical, post injury, etc. Our goal is to help you get back to your sport/fitness safely and successfully.
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