Lateral Ankle Ligament Sprains

A sprain is the damage or tearing of a ligament, which is the fibrous tissue that joins bone to bone often giving stability. In the ankle there are 3 ligaments on the outside (lateral) part of ankle.

Ankle sprains are one of the most commonly seen sporting injuries but can happen to anybody at any time. They usually involve some degree of rapid and uncontrolled inversion of the ankle joint, where there is inward twisting or ‘rolling’ of the ankle.

The degree of injury depends on the degree of force but can range from a Grade 1 (small) tear of one ligament, to a grade 3 (complete rupture) of several ligaments, and in some cases even fracture. Initial assessment is important to rule out a fracture and determine the best possible treatment and healing times / time needed off sport. Treatment then will aim to reduce pain and swelling, restoring full range of movement, improve strength & balance, and a full return to previous activities (sport specific if necessary). There will usually be a period where you will have to strap the ankle to provide extra stability while the ankle recovers, and you will be taught how to do this yourself.

If these injuries are not rehabilitated properly, it can lead to chronic ankle instability where the joint is lax, and you become more prone to recurrent sprains.

Heat or Ice?

A common question we are asked at the physio clinic is whether to use heat or ice with an injury.

Discussion with your therapist will help this but generally you only want to use ice within the first 48 hours of an injury. The reason for this is to close off and shut down the blood vessels around the injury in order to restrict swelling and bruising. If you were to heat during this stage it would likely exacerbate these issues. Heat is particularly effective in conditions where stiffness or tight muscles is a problem, for example if you feel tight in your hamstring before a game or at training, and want to increase the blood flow to the area before competing to help loosen the tightness. There are obviously exceptions to this rule but following the above simple advice should help you to get back on track as quickly as possible.

Shoulder Impingement

Do you get pain in the shoulder or down your arm with overhead movement? Does your shoulder get stuck as you try to lift above your head? Do you feel your shoulder catch or click when you move your arm? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may need to see a physiotherapist.

Shoulder impingement is an injury that we as physiotherapists encounter often. It is most common in people who perform overhead sporting activities. Symptoms include pain in the front of the shoulder and/or down the arm as you lift your arm into certain positions.

Common causes can be tightness in the upper trapezius muscle, poor posture or muscle imbalances or weakness of the rotator cuff or scapular (shoulder blade) stabilizing muscles that will need to be addressed to fix the issue.

If you think you may be suffering from shoulder impingement, get in touch with us now!

Collateral Ligament Sprains

Many sports require quick stopping, starting and directional changes at various speeds. Jumping and landing with directional changes require good knee stability, especially in your ligaments. Unfortunately, if landing on a planted foot with too much knee twisting, or with the wrong directional forces on the knee, you can sprain or even tear one of the collateral knee ligaments.

The collateral ligaments sit either side of the knee joint and provide support and stability to the knee. Physiotherapists grade strains between grade 1 (minor tear) to grade 3 (full rupture). Depending on the severity of the tear, these structures take between 4-6 weeks to heal. It is important to follow rehabilitation guidelines to ensure you do not end up with scar tissue causing long term weakness in the ligament, resulting in re-occurrence of the injury.

If you think you have need help with a collateral ligament injury, feel free to give us a call.

Spinal Decompression: Too good to be true?

Clifford underwent his first back surgery in 2001. Clifford had been suffering with lower back pain for as long as he could remember. Over the years physical therapy and chiropractic had helped temporarily but eventually the pain got worse and the treatments less effective. The pain eventually got to a point where he just couldn’t take it anymore. He was tired of the pain in his low back and the constant tingling, numbness and shooting pain that went down his leg. He was sick of the daily trips to the physical therapist that weren’t helping. He was done with the chiropractic treatments that felt good for a day or two only for the pain to quickly return. And most importantly he was literally sick of all the pills and their side effects of nausea, fatigue, stomach irritation and long term damage. So he did exactly what his Medical Doctor told him was “his only option at this point” which was to undergo surgery. “That should surely fix my problem,” he thought to himself. Little did he know that would be the first of 3 back surgeries he would undergo only to become another “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome” statistic.

More than 7,000 neurosurgeons, physical therapists, medical doctors, and chiropractors have added spinal decompression to their list of services over the last 10 years. More than 10 research articles support up to 80% effectiveness with even the toughest of cases. And now even other countries are getting in on the action as spinal decompression becomes the worldwide “go to” treatment for neck and back pain.

Dr. Howard Berkowitz, M.D., Orthopedist, Atlanta, GA, approves of spinal decompression therapy, stating, “As an orthopedic surgeon and peer reviewer, I see many patients who are significantly worse after back surgery. In many cases I believe that if they had been treated with spinal decompression before surgery they would have resolved completely.”

What’s All the Hype About?
Simple. Physical therapists, chiropractors, medical doctors, and even some orthopedic surgeons are quickly adding one, two, three and even up to ten spinal decompression tables per clinic as they see patients get unbelievable results for herniated, degenerated, bulging and slipped discs even after shots, pills, adjustments and acupuncture have failed. Doctors want to be on the forefront of technology and this is “probably the single greatest addition to a doctor’s toolbox for neck and back pain over the last 50 years.” We can’t mention their names here but many professional athletes have turned to spinal decompression as opposed to surgery because there is no down-time, no cutting, nothing invasive and only takes about 4-6 weeks.

The Breakthrough
Doctors and researchers have known for a long time that most American’s spines are over compressed. We sit all
Now, thanks to revolutionary spinal decompression technology patients are saying goodbye to 10, 20 even 30 years of back pain with this comfortable, safe, non-sur- gical back and neck pain option. Luckily Clifford ended up being one of those.

What are the Side Effects of Spinal Decompression Therapy?
No therapy is ever going to be free from side effects. The most common side effect is a mild soreness after the first few treatments from stretching muscles that haven’t been stretched in a while. This is usually a mild, dull, achy soreness that goes away after the first 3-5 treatments. Also, one patient named Ron W. reported that he was mad because now that he doesn’t have pain anymore his wife made him clean the garage.

How Can I Find Out If It’s Right For Me?
South Hedland Physio is one of the few prestigious clinics in the area now offering spinal decompression treatments. Call today to see if you qualify for spinal decompression decompression treatments for a herniated, bulging or degenerated disc, sciatica or chronic neck and back pain.

Call us on (08) 6370 4480 to make a booking or to find out more!

Can you remember your physio exercises? …uhm something like this?

Well, we have all been there right? After a great visit to our friendly physio and walking out with some homework to do…that we often do not complete. The actual question is “Why don’t we complete our homework, if we know that it’s going to help resolve the problem and improve our treatment plan results?”. Maybe because you cannot remember how to do them? Maybe you just simply lost the pages you were given? Maybe the doggo ate them?

Forgot your exercise program? Fear not, at our Physio clinic we have an answer to facilitate your recovery time and help you reach your optimal functional level with our online solution, available at your fingertips. We’ll send you crystal clear and professionally narrated videos to show you how to perform your exercises correctly, that you can access online or simply download the app for easier access anywhere and anytime. With reminders and an integrated platform, we’ve got your back when it comes to making sure that your rehabilitation is tracked and monitored for optimal success. We can even do online telehealth video calls to assess and discuss your further treatment options. We know, it’s next level and we’re pushing the boundaries to help you get the help you need.

Exercise prescription remains one of the most underrated treatment tools that we passionately believe should be the core of your treatment plan. But you know this already…exercise is medicine, and we aspire to make sure that you are empowered in the best possible way to regain your functional goals. Our goal is to help you increase your functional capacity to complete the tasks that you’ve been struggling with.

Get in touch with us to get you an exercise prescription that is aligned to a future you dream of…small daily improvements create massive success stories over time. So let’s get those joints oiled up and have you geared for success!

It’s so much more than just an exercise prescription, it’s about regaining your life back! That’s why we’re committed to helping you remember what you need to do, and when to do it.

If you need to revise your exercise prescription feel free to get in touch with us and book an appointment.

ACL Injuries

There are three “grades” of ACL injuries. Most ACL injuries occur along with damage to additional structures of the knee. These injuries usually impact the cartilage. ACL injuries are divided into three different “grades” of severity. Grade 1 Sprains: the ACL has been stretched, though the joint remains stable. Grade 2 Sprains: the ligament is stretched to the point it becomes extremely loose. This is often considered a partial tear. Grade 3 Sprains: the ligament is torn completely. This results in the joint instability.

These injuries are usually related to sports activity, such as football, or running, or quick landing with changes of direction. Examples of injury to the ACL may result include direct contact or collision, landing from a jump incorrectly, or slowing down suddenly while running.

Symptoms include pain, swelling, and discomfort while walking. Your physio will speak to you about your symptoms, and assess all structures of your knee, and compare it to your uninjured knee. For some patients, an X-ray or MRI may be necessary to confirm injury to the ACL. Most ACL injuries can be diagnosed simply with a physical exam of the knee.

Treatments vary according to the patient. In most cases, these injuries are treated without surgery, with the patient either undergoing physiotherapy or wearing a brace to prevent knee instability. Physiotherapy can help restore function to the knee and strengthen the leg muscles. ACL tears cannot be stitched together, so if surgery is required the ACL will have to be completely reconstructed.

If you think you may need help with an ACL injury, get in touch with us to book an appointment.

Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis)

Plantar Fasciitis is a common foot injury associated with activities that require jumping, running or repetitive loading. Most athletes will experience pain on the base of the heel or arch,when landing or pushing off, especially with the first steps in the morning. There may be stiffness associated with it before it starts to ease. It is an inflammation of the plantar fascia insertion into the heel. This can occur due to over training, dramatic increased loading over a short time span, weak foot stabilisers, tight calf and foot muscles, or an imbalance in the muscles above the ankle.

Using ice, stretching and decreasing training loads can be enough to resolve the inflammation if caught early. Chronic conditions may benefit from dry needling or shockwave therapy. Foot taping techniques are used to support the plantar fascia or correct foot biomechanics can ease the pain while exercising, however, muscle strength and lengthening programs are needed for full resolution.

If you are struggling with plantar fasciitis, feel free to get in touch with us

Facet Joint Syndrome: The Economic Burden

One of the most common conditions we see here is back pain caused by facet joint syndrome. Which has an impact on patient’s functionality and inevitably participation in society.

Facet joint syndrome is pain caused by injury to the facet joints. A facet joint are synovial joints located between the vertebra of your spine and their function is to guide and limit movement of that spinal segment.

Injury to the facet joints can result in hypomobility or alternatively but less common hypermobility.

Spinal joint pain has had a great impact on the economy. Relating toincreased rates of absenteeism, reduced levels of productivity and Increased risk of leaving the labour market.

In Australia alone the number of absent workdays estimated to around $9.9 million annually and reduced effective workdays estimated to around $36.5 million per year.

Affect most productive years:

  • 40 workdays lost per year in UK / person
  • 1000000 consult their GP’s annually for LBP
  • 300000 referred to hospital (30%)
  • 30000 admitted (3%)
  • 5000 surgery (0.5%)

Don’t hesitate to contact our team if you need to book an appointment or for self-management techniques.


The dizzy patient – Managing patients with Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

“I’m so dizzy, my head is spinning….” Whilst a catchy song by Tommy Roe in the 1960’s, being dizzy is not an enjoyable experience and can be difficult for patients to cope with. One cause of dizziness can be due to Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.

How Common is BPPV?

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is the most common cause of vestibular dysfunction in Australia. An estimated 5.6 million patients present primarily with dizziness per year, and 17-42% of these are diagnosed with BPPV. In Australia, 30% of people over 65 experience vertigo, and similar rates of incidence of BPPV would be expected. BPPV is common in our elderly population, and is associated with increasing incidence of depression, falls and functional impairment.

BPPV treatment

Since the cause of BPPV is mechanical in nature, so is the treatment. We at North Rockhampton physio will guide you through a variety of very specific positioning manoeuvres in an attempt to reproduce a spinning sensation and to observe the subsequent nystagmus that presents with it. Based upon the manoeuvre that stimulated dizziness and the direction of the nystagmus observed, we will be able to pinpoint which canal in the ear has been affected.


Health First South Headland