Click here to read "Off and Racing"
by Dr Helen Walker
Physio4athletes are the physiotherapy providers for the Racing Victoria Apprentice Jockey program, holding this role for over 7 years. Through this unique industry experience, our staff have developed an in depth understanding of the demands of this rigorous sport. We use this knowledge in the rehabilitation of all jockey and track work riding injuries. Our approach is to safely maintain fitness while the injured body part is healing. This helps to avoid general body de-conditioning as much as possible, so that return to track work riding is not delayed by poor fitness. We work to regain mobility, strength and balance in the injured body area as the tissues heal. We have reviewed the research literature and take a 'sport specific approach' meaning that exercises are chosen based on their relevance to the race riding position. Our rehabilitation exercise choices also reflect the need to avoid unnecessary muscle mass development, where required, given the weight demands of this technical sport. Jockeys and track-work riders' recovery from injury is often long and challenging injury recoveries. Throughout a rider's injury recovery, we liase closely with sports physicians and orthopaedic surgeons to achieve a return to riding as soon as possible.
The most common injuries we see result from
1. Racing/track work falls
2. Controlling a horse that is pulling hard
3. Direct blows from a horse such as being kicked
4. Overuse injuries to the hip, knee, neck and back
We have rehabilitated jockeys & track work riders after the following injuries:
- Lumbar disc bulge/protrusions both non-operative and post surgery
- Cervical disc replacement & fracture fixation surgery, non surgical management of disc injuries.
- Thoracic spine (upper back) and rib fractures
- Lower limb fractures: pelvic, patella, tibial plateau, complex tibia/fibula, foot fractures.
- Hip injuries: Hip impingement non surgical treatment. Post operative rehab for hip impingement, replacement and pelvic osteotomy.
- Knee ligament and meniscus surgery including ACL reconstructions
- Upper limb injuries: Clavicle & wrist fractures
- Muscle contusions and tears
- Ligament avulsions and tears