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Difference between sports physio and physiotherapist

Physiotherapy is a holistic form of physical therapy that has the potential to make a difference in the quality of life of many different people. From reducing pain to improving mobility to enhancing athletic performance, physiotherapy works towards increasing comfort and functionality and reaching goals.

Within the field, different areas focus on various needs and target outcomes. One such subset of physiotherapy is sports physiotherapy. As you can imagine, there is a connection between exercise and sports physiotherapy, but how does this differ from what general physiotherapy offers?

At NDPE, we have general and sports physios who deliver high-quality, comprehensive care to a broad array of patients. Find out more about general and sports physiotherapy in West Ryde and which may be most suitable for you.

What is Physiotherapy?

A physiotherapist in any field has undertaken years of formal training to become a highly qualified healthcare professional. As physios, we can support and treat our patients with a variety of physical issues related to the musculoskeletal system.

Physiotherapy involves various factors such as:

  • Identifying underlying issues causing discomfort or decreased functionality.
  • Developing a personalised treatment plan.
  • Managing and treating conditions and injuries.
  • Providing care for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.

Similarities Between a General Physio And a Sports Physio

There are differences between general and sports physiotherapists. However, at their core, as physiotherapists, they both work towards helping people manage, treat, or prevent injuries, various health conditions, pain, and reduced mobility.

Some areas of physiotherapy that overlap in general and sports physiotherapy include:


All physios will provide a thorough assessment before providing care. This may include aspects such as relevant medical history, scans or other applicable tests, details of how the current issue developed, symptoms, and goals.

Assessment will typically also involve a physical evaluation to understand the problematic area.

The Musculoskeletal System

Physiotherapy focuses on areas that tend to be affected by injury, health conditions, and wear and tear. This means that physios work with the bones, joints, and soft tissues, such as cartilage and muscles, of the musculoskeletal system.

Treatment Plan

Physiotherapists develop a personalised treatment plan based on your needs and goals. By taking an evidence-based approach and personalising the methods to suit you, your physio can deliver care that aims to support you where you need it.

Physiotherapy Techniques

Physios are qualified and experienced in carrying out a broad array of evidence-based techniques with the aim of improving a patient’s situation.

Methods used by general and sports physios may include:

Differences Between a General Physio And a Sports Physio

General and sports physiotherapy differ primarily in the target outcomes. Although both areas focus on improving the musculoskeletal system and helping people gain better functionality, sports physiotherapy adds a more specific approach by utilising sporting and exercise science principles.

General physio

General physiotherapists may see patients of all ages with various issues or goals, such as:

  • Injuries.
  • Medical conditions, such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, asthma, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and osteoporosis.
  • Poor posture.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Chronic or acute pain.
  • Post-surgical recovery.

Sports Physio

A sports physio focuses on the requirements and goals people may have related to their sporting and athletic pursuits. This means that sports physios tend to see patients who need:

  • Injury rehabilitation.
  • Injury prevention.
  • Sport-specific exercise programs, preparation, and education.
  • Sport-specific treatment, such as stretching and biomechanical assessments.

Sports physiotherapists can support patients with a broad array of abilities, needs, and goals in environments such as clinics, gyms, and sporting clubs.

The approach a sports physio may take that might differ from a general physio due to the nature of their patients’ specific requirements and goals may involve:

  • Assessing injuries.
  • Evaluating movement patterns.
  • Creating and adjusting rehabilitation programs.
  • Prescribing exercises and stretches that focus on flexibility, mobility, and strength.
  • Providing guidance and education on correct sporting techniques and injury prevention.
  • Monitoring athletic progress and risk factors.
  • Collaborating with others in an athlete’s support group, such as coaches.
  • Providing emergency physio care at events.

Tailored Physio For Your Needs at NDPE

Our general and sports physiotherapists in West Ryde offer a variety of high-quality services to our patients. If you are looking for physio support, please contact our friendly team to organise an initial consultation.

If you are unsure whether to see a general or sports physio, we can discuss this with you. We are passionate about helping you to find a better quality of life and to reach your goals and are looking forward to meeting you!


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Northern Districts Physiotherapy

Northern Districts Physiotherapy & Sports Clinic was established in 1995 and consists of an energetic team of highly qualified and experienced professionals who take the time to understand ...


Business Hours

We are now open Saturday’s….
Monday to Friday: 7am to 7pm
Saturday: 7am to 12noon

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95 Ryedale Road
West Ryde NSW 2114

Ph 02 9874 8410
Fax 02 9874 6192

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