Physiotherapy is an integral part in sports today, and shooting is no exemption. Shooting is a sport of precision that requires balance, and due to the repetitive nature of the sport it needs high endurance as well. Although it is static sport injuries may be experienced from doing the same thing over and over again, thus putting a toll on the body physically.
Interventions provided by physiotherapy can be very beneficial for a shooting athlete. Postural alignment, flexibility, strength, postural stability, biomechanics and the evaluation and treatment of acute and chronic musculoskeletal impairments are important considerations to a high performance in sports shooting.
Postural alignment is very important. A misalignment of the foot and ankle can cause injury of the ankle, shin, knee, hip, and lower back. Certain body type variations can predispose the shooter to injury. The most common of these variations s the pes planus, or what is commonly known as “flat foot”. Typical treatment for flat feet involves assessment of muscle length, flexibility exercises, and the use of orthotics to correct the flattened arch.
Flexibility assessment is critical especially for the standing shooter. Certain muscles groups such the hamstrings, deep hip flexors, quadriceps, hip extensors, hip internal, and external rotators, iliotibial band, calf muscles, chest muscles, shoulder rotators, biceps, triceps, wrist and finger muscles are routinely checked for their flexibility. The shooter must be able to assume a relaxed standing position that requires very minimal muscle use. Tightness in any area may result to unnecessary activation of muscles. For example, a tight iliotibial band may result to lower back pain; therefore ITB stretches may be required.
Shooters are prone to a range of injuries due to prolonged postural stresses. Many shooter have neck, mid and lower back, hip, and knee pain due to prolonged standing, kneeling, and prone positions while supporting the weight of the gun. Treatment of these injuries involve joint manipulation, soft tissue release, and identification of flexibility, core strength or stability deficits.
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