• Nathan Skidmore

Sports Therapy Vs Physiotherapy

Updated: Aug 3

So I know your all asking yourself something I asked myself nearly everyday whilst studying my MSc... "What's the difference between Sports Therapy and Physiotherapy? and does it even matter?" Hopefully I'll be able to clear up some uncertainty!


Note: 'Sports Therapy' and 'Sports Rehabilitation' are used interchangeably in this blog!


What is Sports Therapy and what does a Sports Therapist do?

Sports Therapy (as defined by the Society of Sports Therapists) is "an aspect of healthcare that is specifically concerned with the prevention of injury and the rehabilitation of the patient back to optimum levels of functional, occupational and sports specific fitness, regardless of age and ability."

So essentially they work to help people return from injury to a level of health where they are able to go about their daily life and sport as best they can. They often work within sport settings with athletes however, they still have fantastic knowledge about the general population and how to rehabilitate and treat injuries.


What is a Physiotherapist and what to they do?

Physiotherapy (as defined by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy) "helps people affected by injury, illness or disability through movement and exercise, manual therapy, education and advice. They maintain health for people of all ages, helping patients to manage pain and prevent disease.The profession helps to encourage development and facilitate recovery, enabling people to stay in work while helping them remain independent for as long as possible."



So what's the difference?

One of the BIG differences is that Physiotherap(ist/y) is a protected title, meaning that if your not a qualified physiotherapist, you can't call yourself one. However, Sports Therap(ist/y) is not, so anyone can call themselves a Sports Therapist - even YOU!

One other difference is that, during studying (at degree level), Physiotherapists go into substantially more detail about treating the cardiovascular, neuromuscular and respiratory systems, not just the MUSCULOSKELETAL system (which Sports Therapist's study).

The interesting thing about the services provided by these professions (if we are talking in private clinics anyway), there is VERY LITTLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO! That's obviously taking individual ability out of the question as I am sure there are rubbish and great individuals in each profession.


Who should you be booking in to see?

First thing you should check is what organisations/associations are the practitioner affiliated with? Do they have insurance?

Then it might be worth seeing what qualifications they have and what sort of areas did they study? A lot of practitioners will be more than happy to let you know this information whilst your thinking about booking.


What can I take away from this?

A good rule of thumb is that if you think it could be bone or muscle - both will be able to help. If you think it might be influenced by something a little more (i.e. heart, lungs), maybe a Physiotherapist might be better.

HOWEVER, the BEST option is to get in touch with the practitioner (it doesn't cost to message or call!), let them know what the issue is and they will let you know if its something they might be able to help you with as a lot of practitioners (myself included) have completed extra Continued Professional Development learning to help with more issues!


Check the links below for more information about these professions!


Physiotherapy: https://www.csp.org.uk/

Sports Therapy: http://www.society-of-sports-therapists.org/

Sports Rehabilitation: https://www.basrat.org/


*Disclaimer: The information which is summarised herein does not constitute professional advice, injury diagnosis, treatment or rehabilitation and is general in nature. It does not consider specific circumstances and the information within should not be acted on without an appointment with a qualified musculoskeletal practitioner. All information included in this, and future blogs, is for entertainment purposes only.



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Unit 46, The Riverwalk, Durham, DH1 4SL
Tel: 07764446067
Email: Info@nssportsrehab.com
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