One of the many misunderstood areas of medical treatments is the differences between athletic therapy and physiotherapy. Some individuals may understand the general ideas of physiotherapy but may not be very familiar with athletic therapy, which leads to confusion between the two types of treatment. While both methods of treatment share similarities, there are some differences that separate them.
In terms of similarities, both methods of treatment focus on rehabilitating injuries. Both can perform hands-on modality treatments that can relieve pain, improve mobility as well as restore proper function of specific muscles and joints.
Contrary to popular belief, athletic therapy is not just exclusive to athletes. While it greatly benefits professional or high-level athletes, the treatments can be utilized by any individual
who wants to return to peak physical condition. In athletic therapy, it focuses on active rehabilitation, which will teach individuals how to utilize their bodies to deal with certain injuries or pain. The main focus of athletic therapists is to assist their patients through exercise and physical treatment, which is why this benefits athletes as they can rehab specific injuries they may have while being able to maintain their physical performance.
Physiotherapy In physiotherapy, the main focus is improving functional independence and physical performance, preventing and managing physical impairments while promoting health and
fitness. While this sounds similar to what an athletic therapist would focus on, physiotherapy involves more modality treatments that an individual may not receive from athletic therapy. Many physiotherapists could have a broader range of knowledge as well as a medical background which would allow them to treat illnesses, diseases, neurological and respiratory issues.
Although there are differences, it is important for people to understand which type of therapy would benefit them the most. If you’re an individual who wants to become active and participate in sports but is being held back due to pain or injuries, seeing an athletic therapist could be more beneficial rather than seeing a physiotherapist. If you’re an individual who wants to remain functional for daily activities and but have suffered injuries that has prevented this, then seeing a physiotherapistist could be more beneficial rather than seeing an athletic therapist.
Ricky Chen, Student Author
Honours Kinesiology Co-op
Undergraduate, University of Waterloo