When to see a Doctor rather than a Physiotherapist

Posted on November 25th, 2012

There are numerous conditions that masquerade as, or occur together with, musculoskeletal pain. It can be difficult to know which professional is the best to deal with your problem, and you may find yourself at a Physiotherapy appointment only to be told that you should have seen your doctor first.

If you experience any of the following symptoms associated with your pain you should see your doctor as soon as possible, not your Physiotherapist. These signs & symptoms may indicate a serious pathology and warrant further investigation, such as an x-ray, MRI or blood test.

–          Chest pain

–          Constant pain that does not change with movement or body position

–          Significant traumatic injury

–          Pins & needles and/or numbness in both feet or around your genitals

–          Unexplained weight loss

–          History of cancer

–          Fever, fatigue or a feeling of being unwell

–          Problems controlling your bladder or bowel

–          Severe, unremitting night pain

–          Unexplained deformity or swelling

–          Dizziness, nausea and/or unremitting headaches, particularly following a head or neck injury

–          Problems with talking, swallowing, vision or balance

Ankle Sprains

Posted on November 6th, 2012

Ankle sprains are one of the most common acute sporting injuries and also have one of the highest recurrence rates. This high recurrence rate is mainly due to insufficient rehabilitation and premature return to sport.

Here are some tips for how to appropriately manage an ankle sprain and prevent it from happening again:

  1. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation: as soon as possible after the injury, and continue for at least 72 hours
  2. Do no HARM (heat, alcohol, running, massage) in the first 72 hours
  3. Gradually increase the weight you put through your foot, this will help to reduce swelling and increase movement of the ankle joint
  4. Start exercises to increase the movement of your ankle and regain strength of the muscles as soon as possible (see your physiotherapist for appropriate exercises)
  5. Wear strapping tape or an ankle brace for support while your ligaments are healing. Your physiotherapist can show you how to best strap your ankle and prevent further damage.
  6. Work on retraining your balance – you will be surprised how poor your balance can be after an ankle sprain, and poor balance can lead to re-injury
  7. Once you are pain free and have full movement of your ankle, you can start functional exercises that will help you return to sport. Keep in mind that in order to run, you first need to be able to hop on one leg.
  8. Get your physiotherapist to check your ankle prior to returning to sport.


Your physiotherapist will be able to provide appropriate exercises and advice for each stage of the healing process.