Physiotherapy questions


Send us your physiotherapy related question to and we will try our best to get back to you within 24 hours!!!


Q: What is the difference between A Physiotherapist , a Chiropractor and a Biokinetist? What are the qualifications and who do I go to?

A: A Physiotherapist is a first line practitioner and as such are able to do full medical assessments of your musculoskeletal (muscle and bones) injuries. With some clinical reasoning we make sure to fix up what needs to be fixed, and get you back on the track. We pretty much work from the outside in.

Specific massage and joint mobilizations forms a large part of our treatments along with dry needling/ acupuncture, electrotherapy machines, supportive or kinesio- strapping and patient specific rehabilitation with evidence based exercises and equipment.

When do you need a physio: If you know you suffer from specific chronic injuries on a race or have any new injuries that arise on the race event, we will assess what's been damaged, how bad. .or not bad, it is. We will then treat the injury accordingly with either a good massage, joint mobilization, or some specific supportive strappings. We will then give you some medical advice on how to manage your injury as well as what to do to prevent other injuries.

A Physiotherapist has a 4 year honours degree, and are registered with the HPCSA.

A Biokinetist is the movement specialist and have an incredible understanding in the science of movement and the application of exercise in rehabilitative treatment or performance.

They use an array of therapeutic equipment such as rollers, mats etc to rehab specific injuries and postural faults, along with a widespread database of patient specific       exercises that are mostly given to patients in the final phases of a rehabilitation programme to get you back to your specific sports.

When do you need a Biokinetist: If you need specific stretches, core advice and a good postural education, advice with your running style and ways to improve or bike set up.

A Biokinetist has a 4 year honours degree, and are registered with the HPCSA.

A Chiropractor is a health profession specialising in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Some of their tools include Joint mobilizations and manipulations when indicated. Dry needling, and rehabilitation advice.

When do you need the Chiro on a race:

A Chiropractor has a 6 year degree and are registered with the Chiropractic Association of South Africa (CASA).

Q: What is the difference bewteen a Sports physiotherapist , Sports therapist and Sports massage therapist?

A: A Sports Physiotherapist is a qualified physiotherapist registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) who has completed a post graduate Sports Physiotherapy course (SPT 1 )specialising in the assessment, prevention and treatment of sports injuries.

A Sports Massage Therapist is a massage therapist who has done an extended course in massage therapy and focuses on sports athletes.

Q: Can I claim back from medical aid?

A: Yes- depending on your specific medical aid and medical plan. We will need your medical aid details and will provide you with a detailed ICD coded invoice.

Q: Do I have to pre book or can I come in on the day of the race?

A: We prefer to have patients pre book for each event so we can ensure we bring enough physiotherapists and stock and for you to get a good time. However we will happily assist clients on a walk in basis.

Q: How do we find you in the race villages?

A: We will send you an sms daily reminding you of your appointment times and where we will be situated. Most race villages will have a plan set up for you to find us.

Q: What should I wear or need to bring with for a session?

A: We will need to expose the areas of the body to be treated. For the massage and soft tissue techniques wear undergarments that you are comfortable with being exposed, bikini's and speedo's.  We try our best to provide as much privacy in the race villages, but we are limited at times for changing rooms. For the rehab sessions, comfortable shorts and tops that allow you to stretch each limb effectively.

Q: What does foam rolling do and is it good for me?

A: Research suggests that using a foam roller is a form of “Self Myofascial Release” and that it makes the fascia more flexible and breaks down scar tissue and adhesions. Muscles are surrounded by a soft tissue known as fascia. It is thought that this tissue can influence flexibility and joint range of movement.
Use it with caution and common sense- if you have an acute injury this may not be the best time!

Q: Heat or ice?

A: As a general guideline- Heat for muscle spasms, ice for acute injuries and inflammation.

Q: Should I take an anti-inflammatory after an acute injury?

A: No... Best to avoid in the acute stage- first 48hours. Studies have shown the anti-inflammatory effect to significantly delay the healing process of injured tissue. Rather stick with an analgesic (pain) tablet and support, protect,  immobilize the injured tissue for a few days, but get onto a physio to recommend when to start movements.

Q: Why do I get a headache or feel so tired after a massage?

A: A few factors: possibly lying at an awkward angle for too long? Massage  also stimulates the blood flow to the tissue being treated and a metabolic process is stimulated where certain waste products may be release from the tissue and can result in a slight dehydrated state... so have a good glass of water before and after to help 'flush' out the wastes?

Q: Compression pants-look good or help me?

A: One of the theories is that it assists with venous return in the bloods circulatory system. Evidence suggests that wearing compression clothing can slightly improve your performance, most notably by enhancing your aerobic threshold and VO2max and so helping with the healing of tissues removing metabolic wastes from the days demands on the muscles, speeding up the healing process in the tissues.

Q: What  is and why do I cramp?

A: My personal feel is not enough training of the specific muscle groups for the demands both physically and environmentally on the body  for the specific events. It's got to do with more than salt and hydration and involves a whole neural communication pathway in the body and muscle fatigue. Get out and train on the hot days, cold days, rainy days and for 3 consecutive days on rough terrain. Basically, you train a muscle to contract and the muscle fatigues. It then miscommunicates and stays contracted when it shouldn’t, causing a cramp.

Q: What is the difference between acupuncture and dry needling- what does it actually do and what are the risks?

A: Physiotherapists mostly practice Dry needling- a few have also gone into Acupuncture. Dry needling is used to elicit a natural healing response from your body, by increasing blood flow to specific structures, and stimulating your body’s many natural pain inhibition systems, thus also stimulating the secretion of natural pain inhibitors. It should only be done by a trained practitioner which requires a good assessment of the injured tissue as to the effectiveness thereof. Informed consent needs to be given by each patient and the risks explained. Risks include pneumothorax and  infection if not administered professionally. Some side effects include dizziness/ fainting, pain in the area, bruising/ slight bleeding, redness.

Q: Kinesiotape??? Is it all placebo???

A: Some great results have been demonstrated by patients with the correct application of the tape.
The principals used by the tape is to create space and improve flow- both lymphatic system and for the underlying fascia. The other effect is to stimulate the receptors in the tissue (proprioceptors) to facilitate the tissue in healing, activation/ inhibition of muscle groups and to facilitate the correct postures of certain joints.


Sport PhysiotherapyOMPTG Physiotherapy Group
SalomonThe South African Society of PhysiotherapySASMA South African Sports Medicine AssociationLeuko Sports BSN Medical