Sports Screenings Musculoskeletal (MSK)

What is a Sports MSK Screening?
A Sports MSK Screening is a battery of tests used by a Sports Physio to assess & identify factors that are specifically related to your sport, including:

  • posture
  • muscle co-ordination, control & strength
  • flexibility
  • patterns of movement
  • Injury patterns/profiles- past and current injuries & intervention

Why use an MSK Screening?
Any level of competitive athlete can benefit from a MSK Screening.

Sports Organisations and Institutes at the Elite level have been using MSK Screenings for a long time now to:

1. Help Maximise Performance

  • assess musculoskeletal or biomechanical factors that may impact on performance

2.  Help Detect Injury

  • pre-screen athletes before major events to ensure fit and injury-free to compete
  • assess any current injuries
  • assess intervention strategies
  • assess any deficit resulting from previous injuries
  • May indicate specific manual treatment to correct deficits found

3. Aim to prevent injury

  • screen during off-season to highlight any predisposing factors that may lead to injury
  • assess for asymmetry between the left and right sides
  • check for joint or muscle inflexibility
  • check for muscular weakness or joint instability
  • assess for biomechanical faults
  • collecting the sports injury & MSK data allows injury profiling→ specific strategies can then be implemented prior to injury occurrence

The tests used in a Screening should be different for each sport depending on the ‘ideal’ technique required for that sport in order to be the fastest, strongest, or most efficient, and in order to reduce the likelihood of injury related to competing in that Sport.

When to do an MSK Screening?
The best time to complete a Screening is:

  • Out of competition, just before training recommences where the sports training load has been reduced and there is more time available for the athlete to complete an intervention plan to assist performance and reduce the risk of injury prior to training load increasing
  • Before all major competitions, to ensure all athletes in a team/squad are injury-free
  • If an athlete is new to a Sport or starts with a new Coach so that individualised information can be given to the athlete and/or coach about potential physical strengths and weaknesses of that athlete within that sport

Ideally there should be a brief follow-up 4-6weeks after the initial screening to ensure intervention strategies have been included in the Athlete’s training program and are being performed correctly and then a 6-monthly follow-up to reassess the tests that needed improvement.

What is involved in a MSK Screening?
a)      An Athlete interview – to record a thorough injury history and determine performance weaknesses

b)      A Physical assessment – tests of relevant joint ranges of motion, muscle flexibility, muscle strengths & current injury-specific tests

c)      Video analysis of the sports biomechanics if available and review of reports from Coach/ Strength & Conditioning Coach/ Other Health Professional assisting the athlete

What happens with the results of an MSK Screening?
Ideally the athlete is given individual feedback related to physical area’s they can improve that will help them achieve ‘ideal’ technique.

The feedback should be written and include measured values of where the athlete is at in each test related to the ‘ideal’, or ‘expected’, value of the tests that were performed.

These results are the starting point from which to develop appropriate exercises to target:

  • which muscles to stretch,
  • which joints need more range of motion,
  • area’s needing improved local segmental or global control exercises,
  • body connection,
  • the body area’s that need more focus for maintenance or self-maintenance
  • drills and strategies to improve technique and rectify any biomechanical flaws
  • more specific & individualised strength & conditioning programs
  • Injury Profiling & other “Pre-Hab” (prevention) programs

At Gold Coast Physio & Sports Health, our Physio’s have access to most Sports MSK Screenings that are used by Australian Teams, the Australian Institute of Sport or the Qld Academy of Sport so you can be sure you are receiving the highest level of Sports Specific Care.

Phone us on 07 5500 6470 to book a Musculoskeletal Screening, or to discuss with one of our Physio’s the best time for you to have an MSK Screening related to your Sporting Goals.  Whatever your goals, we’ll keep you on track!