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What's the difference between a Physio and a Sports Therapist?

Updated: Aug 23, 2022

Have you ever wondered if you need Physiotherapy or Sports Therapy?

We are often asked what the difference is between Physiotherapists and Sports Therapists, the short answer is that both professions are trained and insured to treat musculoskeletal disorders but there are some key differences in their training and approach. Here we will give an overview of the two professions, outlining their similarities and differences to help you identify the most appropriate practitioner to aid you back to optimal fitness.

Both Physiotherapists and Sports Therapists are highly educated in dealing with musculoskeletal disorders, treating pain and injury through hands-on treatment modalities, rehabilitation and patient education. Both focus on restoring, maintaining and maximising movement, relieving pain and increasing quality of life.

Sports Therapists

Sports Therapists often come out of University with more experience working in a Sport Specific environment. They specialise in sports and musculoskeletal conditions and have a good knowledge of what it takes to get you back to your level of sport, no matter whether that’s elite level, recreational level or just looking to keep fit.

The governing body of Sports Therapists is The Society of Sports Therapists. They describe the profession as “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.

It utilises the principles of sport and exercise science incorporating physiological and pathological processes to prepare the participant for training, competition and where applicable, work.


Physiotherapists have a much wider knowledge base, looking at multiple aspects of healthcare. Physios look after patients with neurological, respiratory, cardiac conditions and often have more experience working within the NHS.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy states “Physiotherapists help 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.


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