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How Action Rehab’s AFL Experience in Injury Management Reduces Recovery Time

Injuries are an inevitable part of the high-intensity world of AFL football. Timely and effective treatment can make all the difference in getting athletes back in the game. To share our expertise, the Action Rehab team is privileged to present to physiotherapists at AFL football clubs, focusing on game-day management and differential diagnosis of common hand injuries.

In this article, we will unpack those insights to help you understand the benefits of early intervention and how it can prevent unnecessary setbacks.  A proactive approach can significantly reduce sidelined athletes’ recovery time and may help some avoid surgery.

Join us as we delve into the world of injury management and explore the strategies that keep players in peak condition and on the field where they belong.

Common AFL Injuries and treating them on game day

Three of the most common injuries in this high-paced game are PIPJ dislocations, mallet finger, and thumb injuries. With a quick assessment and appropriate on-field management by physiotherapists, these injuries can often be addressed on the spot, enabling players to continue in the game.

Physiotherapists typically employ strapping techniques to stabilise the injured area. 

Once the game ends, simple taping or splinting techniques can be used to immobilise and protect the injured joint until further assessment, imaging and correct treatment can be sort from a hand therapist. Encouraging a player to seek further care, regardless of how “simple” the injury initially appears, goes a long way in ensuring proper recovery and in preventing long-term complications.

Discover the Role of Hand Therapists in Assessing and Managing Hand Injuries

When dealing with sporting injuries, many clubs and athletes are unaware that seeing a hand therapist early on can be a game-changer in their recovery process.  By choosing to consult with a hand therapist as the first point of contact, patients can dodge unnecessary delays in treatment and jump-start their recovery. This approach can help athletes return to sports faster and reduce the risk of more severe complications from delayed care.

At Action Rehab, we guide athletes toward the most appropriate treatment options when assessing and managing hand injuries, ensuring that surgery is only considered when necessary. 

Navigating the Pressure to Get Players Back on the Field

When working with athletes and clubs, the pressure to get players back on the field is an undeniable challenge. Athletes continually strive for success, sometimes playing through injuries thinking they can get surgery at the end of the season and pushing to perform at their peak. 

Partnering with hand therapists and physiotherapists/medical staff and being open about an athlete’s goals can ensure appropriate care and rehabilitation, balancing short-term and long-term recovery and well-being. 

This teamwork allows for a safer and more sustainable return to play and mitigates the risk of potential reinjuries and career-shortening setbacks. In the high-stakes world of sports, investing in performance and player welfare is essential to achieving lasting success. It’s crucial to strike the right balance between the athlete’s goals, their health and the competitive spirit of the game.

Collaborating with Surgeons for Patient-Centered Care

Turning to a hand therapist as a first step provides patients with prompt, appropriate care tailored to their specific needs without eliminating the possibility of surgical consultation if required. 

By working alongside surgeons, a Hand Therpist can ensure a seamless and holistic approach to injury management that takes patients from the initial assessment to rehabilitation and recovery.  This collaborative approach accelerates patients’ return to sport, minimises the risk of more severe injuries, and improves overall outcomes.

Final Thoughts on AFL Injury Management

In conclusion, early intervention and effective management of hand injuries are crucial to reducing recovery time for AFL players. Seeking the services of hand therapists such as Action Rehab immediately after an injury occurs can prevent unnecessary delays in treatment and may avoid surgery, leading to faster return-to-play times and reduced risk of long-term complications. 

Collaboration between hand therapists, team physios, and surgeons ensures a holistic approach to injury management and rehabilitation, prioritising the athlete’s goals and overall well-being. Investing in athlete performance and welfare is essential for long-term success, and striking the right balance between competitive play and player health is crucial.

Whether you play AFL football professionally or are an amateur athlete, early intervention and effective management of hand injuries are crucial to your recovery. As an experienced hand therapy clinic, the Action Rehab team is ready to help you with your road to recovery today. With our expertise and specialised care, we can help you avoid unnecessary delays in treatment, minimise the risk of long-term complications and offer an optimised approach that considers your needs, goals and overall well-being. Get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment.


  • Ben cunningham

    Ben Cunningham is the Hand Therapist at the Melbourne Football Club and has over 20 years’ experience providing hand and upper limb therapy, including working in the United Kingdom at the Queen Victoria Hospital and as the senior clinician at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.