Osteopathy and Exercise Rehabilitation for Netball

With the netball season just starting, what better time to talk about how Osteopathy and Exercise Rehabilitation at the Competitive Sports Clinic can be of benefit to a netball athlete. In this article we will look at how an Osteopathic consult is structured, how it will be tailored for a netballer and what components make up the exercise rehabilitation program, including training advice, biomechanical screening and recommendations, along with the implementation of injury prevention strategies.


The Osteopathic Consult


The history is the first and most important part of the consultation. It involves the Osteopath asking the athlete questions related to their presenting symptoms. The history allows the Osteopath to develop a good understanding of all the individual factors related to the athletes presenting symptoms. In many cases, a good history will give the Osteopath a strong idea of the diagnosis before they even start examining.



The examination consists of general and specific Osteopathic and Orthopaedic testing to see how your body moves generally, and what movements both cause and contribute to your symptoms. At the Competitive Sports Clinic, if an Osteopath thinks your symptoms may be related to your running, or other exercise technique they will also screen that in their examination.


Rehabilitation Exercise


The Osteopath will normally start applying treatment techniques directly after the examination. There are many different treatment techniques Osteopaths can use, both hands-on and hands-off. They are all mostly designed to decrease your symptoms and/or increase your range of motion. Common techniques that an Osteopath can use are: massage, passive and active stretching, joint mobilisation and articulation, high-velocity, low-amplitude (manipulation/cracking) and active articulations.


Aftercare and Advice

This is where your Osteopath will explain ways of improving your symptoms outside the treatment room. This may consist of things such as anti-inflammatory advice, training modifications, postural advice and taping.


Exercise Rehabilitation

Exercise Rehabilitation
 allows your Osteopath to formulate a personalised exercise and training program to help with your symptoms. In many cases, proper exercise rehabilitation is needed to best manage and resolve your symptoms. At the Competitive Sports Clinic, our Osteopaths are also qualified strength and conditioning coaches so they are able to give an athlete good training and management advice. The following sections will look at the different components involved in exercise rehabilitation of a netballer.


Biomechanical Screening and Recommendations

Netball is a high-intensity sport that requires a lot of ballistic movement and quick changes of direction. Recent studies have shown the differences in placement of your lower limb when you change direction can have an impact on how much pressure goes through your joints. If done incorrectly, this can potentially lead to injury (reference). At the Competitive Sports Clinic, we will screen these movements and implement strategies (including movement drills and strength advice) to improve your biomechanics (how you move) if required.



Injury Prevention Strategies

To implement good injury prevention strategies it is important the Osteopath has a good understanding of injury history and how the person moves both on and off the court. Common things we will implement to help prevent injury include biomechanical screening and advice (see previous section), strengthening specific muscles, muscle groups and movements, equipment advice (shoes, braces, etc.) and training planning and structure (see next section).


Training Planning and Structure

Proper training advice and planning is crucial for an athlete, as it is one of the main factors that will help prevent injury in the first place! Let’s take a look at how training advice and emphasis would change at different stages in the season.


Post/Off-Season (Transition Phase) Training Emphasis (2-4 Months):

– Get some well deserved rest!
– Treat injuries and ailments through treatment and exercise rehabilitation
– Maintaining basic strength and fitness requirements


Pre-Season (Preparation Phase) Training Emphasis (3-4 Months):

– Improve strength
– Improve speed and agility
– Improve endurance running capacity
– Develop and implement team tactics



In- Season (Competition Phase) Training Emphasis (5-6 Months):

– Recovery, recovery, recovery!
– Recovery is most important during the competition phase so that athletes can perform at their best on game day.
– Improve and modify team tactics
– Maintain and slightly improve strength, speed and aerobic fitness
– Monitor for signs of overtraining and injury

For more informational articles like this one, you can also check our blog around 7 tips to get the most out of your football pre season program.

I hope this article has given you a good insight into how an Osteopath at the Competitive Sports Clinic can help a Netball athlete. By analysing and assessing aspects of the athlete’s physical health, and then implementing structured training plans, the athlete will know they have the best possible chance of increasing their performance and decreasing their chance of injury. If you have any further questions relating to this or would like to enquire about one of our services please contact us at (03) 9939 1289 or [email protected]


About the Author:

Dr. Nicholas Tripodi is a Co-director and Osteopath at the Competitive Sports Clinic located in the Essendon District. Nicholas has particular interests in sports injuries, exercise rehabilitation and running and cycling analysis.