There is a need to diagnose as precisely as possible the injury, the pathological mechanism and the risk factors so a treatment plan can be initiated. Assessment of musculoskeletal injuries of the lower limb is no different to that of the non-athlete covered elsewhere in this handbook, with the exception of the sports history.
Know the sport – understand the technical demands this increases the confidence of the athlete in the clinician. Knowledge of the demands and requirements of different sports aids in diagnosis and determination of risk factors for sports injury, as well as an appreciation of the lower limb biomechanics of that sport.
Be aware of the importance of the sport to the athlete – especially the level of commitment. It is important to identify the specific needs of the athlete and what the sports mean to them.
History of presenting complaint should follow the systematic approach of any history, but in addition need some or all of the following information:
effect of the injury on the athletes competition and training routines
amount of training – mileage, hours, level, intensity, experience
evaluation of sports footwear
any recent changes in competition or training (eg change of shoes; increase in mileage; change in terrain; change from road to track work; change from aerobic to anaerobic training; time of day change for training etc)
evaluate the athletes training/competition routine for risk factors for injury
evaluate the athletes environment – eg surface, terrain
psychological stage/response of the athlete to the injury and their appraisal of the injury
the athletes understanding of the nature of the injury
the athletes expectations of rehabilitation