What is Sports Physiotherapy?

Sports physiotherapy is a specialized area of physiotherapy that deals with rehabilitation, education, and prevention of sporting injuries for people of all ages and abilities. Whether you are an elite athlete or a regular individual who participates in recreational exercise, sports physiotherapy is a service that can benefit you greatly.

In Singapore, sports physiotherapy services are abundant. These services are usually carried out in outpatient settings in hospitals or private physiotherapy clinics. It is important to choose a physiotherapist who understands your sport. This will allow your physiotherapy programme to be effective in achieving your sporting goals.

Our physiotherapists at Heartland Rehab have a vast experience in many different sports. You can be assured that we will cater to a physiotherapy programme that will be specific in addressing your sporting needs.

feet coordination exercise demonstration


What are the different aspects of Sports Physiotherapy?

1. Rehabilitation

This is one of the most common aspects that lead people to physiotherapy. When you experience a sporting injury, rehabilitation is always essential for your recovery. At Heartland Rehab, we will structure an individualized programme for you to suit your needs. This will help you to recover and return to your sporting activities in a safe and timely manner.


2. Optimization of sporting performance

When you recover from an injury, it is common that you might not be able to perform at your best. This can be due to deconditioning, as you were not able to train at your usual level. Thus, we will analyze the requirements of your sport and identify the areas that you are lacking in. With that knowledge, we can structure a strength and conditioning programme for you. This will optimize the level of your sporting abilities, and allow you to return to your best.


3. Injury Prevention

Overuse injuries are often the cause of athletes requiring physiotherapy treatment (Up to 44% as shown in studies). This is because of the high demand of load placed on your muscles, joints, and bones. With professional guidance from your physiotherapist, we can reduce the risk of your injuries. This is will sustain the longevity of your performance, allowing you to enjoy your sport without the fear of injury.


4. Education

Other than creating an exercise or rehabilitation programme, our physiotherapists at Heartland Rehab believes in educating our clients. We will provide a thorough explanation of your injury, the purpose of each exercise during your rehabilitation, and what you can expect on your road to recovery. We also provide advice for your exercise and training regimes to prevent overuse injuries.

bala demonstrating resistant band exercise


Steps toward an effective Sports Physiotherapy programme

1. Subjective assessment

This is conducted as an interview with you. It will allow us to understand the mechanism of your injury, your lifestyle, training regimes, and your medical or injury history. This is the first step to provide us with the knowledge and understanding that will be useful in diagnosing your injuries and curating an effective Sports Physiotherapy programme for you.


2. Objective assessment

This is an individual physical assessment to assess your range of motion, muscle strength, balance, movement patterns, posture, and form. It provides us with an objective view of your physical condition to prioritize your treatment and the areas to work on.

We might also perform orthopedic assessments to test some of the structures in your body. This will clue us into knowing which structures might be injured or to rule out any severe forms of injuries that might require further medical attention.


3. Interpretation of Medical imaging or investigations

Having more information during our assessment is always helpful. As Physiotherapists, we are well versed in interpreting medical imaging results or blood reports. We can provide a thorough explanation of these results if you require us to do so. Bring these reports along for your physiotherapy session if you have them. However, do not fret if you do not have any scans done before consulting a physiotherapist. We are still able to diagnose injuries with findings from your subjective and objective assessments. If we require more information or rule out any serious form of injury, we can always refer you to a doctor to perform further tests.


4. Forming a clinical diagnosis

Once we have gathered all the essential information above, we can derive an accurate clinical diagnosis of your injury. After this, we will identify and prioritize the areas to work on, formulating an individualized treatment plan for you. Thereafter, you will start your rehabilitation safely and effectively.

The above information is also vital for us to stratify your injury risk. With that, we can modify and structure a programme for you, to give you the confidence to perform your sports with minimal risk of injuries.


5. Goal setting

For any programme to be effective, realistic goals will have to be set. This will keep you motivated and allow you to monitor your progress. At Heartland Rehab, we set both short-term and long-term goals using the ‘SMART’ criteria.

‘SMART’ stands for:






Here is an example of how we set a ‘SMART’ goal for a client who underwent ACL reconstruction:

Short-term goal:

By 2 weeks, the client should be able to attain 115 degrees of knee flexion.

  • In this goal, we are specific in the amount of knee flexion that we want the client to be able to achieve
  • The angle of knee flexion can be measured with a goniometer
  • This goal is usually attainable in post-op ACL subjects by 2 weeks
  • Improving the knee flexion angle is relevant in the progress of the client to be able to progress to climbing stairs and cycling
  • By setting the goal to be achieved in 2 weeks, the client will know the expected time frame to achieve the goal

Long-term goal:

By 3 months, the client should be able to start jogging on a treadmill at speed: 6.

  • Again, you can see that we are specific on the activity (jogging) and speed we want the client to achieve
  • The speed is measurable with the treadmill
  • Jogging at a low to moderate speed is usually attainable in post-op ACL subjects by 3 months
  • Being able to jog is relevant in the progress of the client to be able to start loading the knee more to progress to hops and running
  • By setting the goal to be achieved in 3 months, the client will know the expected time frame to achieve the goal

Keep in mind that the goals can be changed during your rehabilitation process, as it is dependent on your progress during your physiotherapy sessions. If you progress faster than expected, we can shift the goals to be achieved at an earlier time. If progress is slowed due to factors such as pain, we can adjust the goals to be achieved at a later timeline.

gareth demonstrating calf strengthening exercise


6. Exercise Regime

With the goals set in place, we will create an exercise programme to achieve these goals. Using the training principles recommended by The American College of Sports Medicine will provide you with clear instructions for your exercise regime. This is done using the ‘FITT’ principle.

‘FITT’ stands for:





Here is an example of how we structure a 3 months post-op ACL exercise regime using the recommended training principles:

Frequency: Number of days per week to perform the exercise

  • To perform strengthening exercises such as single-leg squats, leg press, heel raises, and single-leg bridging for 3 times each week, every alternate day
  • To do light jogging or cycling 5x per week

Intensity: The amount of weight or resistance to use for strengthening exercises, and the percentage of your maximal heart rate for aerobic exercises

  • Leg press at 80% of body weight using a leg press machine
  • Single leg squats and single-leg bridging using bodyweight
  • Heel Raises with 5kg of the dumbbell on each hand
  • Light jogging or cycling at 65% of your maximal heart rate

Time: The number of repetitions to perform

  • Heel raises for 15 repetitions and 3 sets
  • Leg press for 10 repetitions and 3 sets
  • Single leg squats and single-leg bridging for 8 repetitions and 3 sets
  • Light jogging or cycling for 30 minutes each time

Type: The mode of the exercise

  • In this example, there are two different modes of aerobic exercise that the client can do, such as jogging or cycling
  • Leg press exercises can also be substituted for step-ups if the client is not able to make it to the gym on the given day

Other than using the ‘FITT’ principle, we also apply another principle recommended by The American College of Sports Medicine to maximize the benefits of your rehabilitation. This is the ‘SORV’ principle.

‘SORV’ stands for:





Using the same example as above, here is how ‘SORV’ will apply:


  • The strengthening exercises such as single-leg squats, leg press, heel raises, and single-leg bridging is specific to the goals we want the client to achieve to build up the strength of the leg
  • Adding an aerobic exercise component is also specific to the goal of maintaining some cardiovascular performance of the client


  • By safely adding weights, we can overload the muscles so that they can adapt and grow in strength


  • Doing the strengthening exercises for 3 times each week, and aerobic exercises for 5 times each week ensure that there are rest days in between
  • This is important to prevent overtraining and overuse injuries as well


  • Having the choice of jogging and cycling provides options so that the client does not get bored with the exercise regime


7. Hands-on Treatment

Additionally, our physiotherapists at Heartland Rehab dedicate ourselves to provide excellent hands-on treatment for you. This helps to facilitate a better quality of movement, performance, and prevent injuries when doing your rehabilitation exercises or sporting activities. Here are some of the hands-on treatment that we provide:

Joint Mobilization

This is a technique that applies targeted pressure of forces on your joint to improve your mobility, reducing any pain and stiffness that you might experience.

Sports Massage

This is effective in freeing up any tissue restrictions and adhesions along the muscle to reduce your pain, stiffness, and tightness. Sports massage is also effective in reducing any post-exercise soreness and increase lactate clearance to facilitate tissue healing.

Dry needling

This is a minimally invasive technique that can be used to manage your pain or movement restrictions that are caused by the formation of trigger points.

dry needling session with a patient



This is usually done to provide adequate support to the joints, ligaments, or muscles to prevent injuries during a sporting event. We will also teach you how to perform these taping techniques so that you can apply the tape on your own to prevent injuries.

Electrophysical agents (EPA)

At Heartland Rehab, we have EPA machines such as Cryotherapy, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation to reduce your pain and facilitate your recovery. Moreover, electrical stimulation can also be sued to improve muscle activation when you do your exercises. This will encourage quicker results to achieve better muscle strength.


Sports Physiotherapy at Heartland Rehab

The Sports Physiotherapy programme we provide Heartland Rehab is a comprehensive one. This is because we want our clients to benefit greatly from our services. Regardless of your age and sporting abilities, having a Sports Physiotherapy programme will add value to your sporting performance, allowing you to stay fit and live healthily.

Should you have more enquires, please feel free to contact us immediately.