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A PT's Guide To The Pelvic Floor for Female Athletes

Welcome to the ultimate guide for physical therapists seeking to empower female athletes in their journey to peak performance. In this comprehensive resource, we'll delve into the intricacies of the pelvic floor and explore how its health impacts athletic prowess. Strap in as we unlock the secrets to success for every female athlete seeking to dominate their sport.

Understanding the Pelvic Floor

To kick things off, let's dive into the foundation of it all – the pelvic floor. Much more than just a group of muscles, the pelvic floor plays a crucial role in supporting pelvic organs, controlling bladder and bowel function, and stabilizing the core. Understanding its anatomy and function is key to addressing issues that may arise in female athletes.

Common Pelvic Floor Issues in Female Athletes

For many female athletes, the journey to peak performance is not without its hurdles. From stress urinary incontinence to pelvic organ prolapse, the demands of high-impact sports can take a toll on the pelvic floor. But fear not – with the right guidance and rehabilitation techniques, these challenges can be overcome.

Impact of Sports and Exercise on the Pelvic Floor

It's no secret that sports and exercise play a significant role in shaping the pelvic floor health of female athletes. However, certain activities, such as running and weightlifting, can place added strain on these muscles, leading to dysfunction if not addressed properly. By emphasizing proper technique and form, coaches and physical therapists can help mitigate the risk of injury and promote long-term pelvic floor health.

Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation for Female Athletes

When it comes to rehabilitating the pelvic floor, one size does not fit all. That's why it's essential for physical therapists to tailor their approach to the unique needs of female athletes. From specialized assessments to targeted exercises, a comprehensive rehabilitation program can help restore strength, coordination, and function to the pelvic floor muscles.

Integrating Pelvic Floor Training into Sports Performance

In the world of athletics, every advantage counts – and that includes a strong and healthy pelvic floor. By incorporating pelvic floor training into their regular routines, female athletes can improve their performance, reduce their risk of injury, and enhance their overall well-being. From pre-game warm-ups to post-training cooldowns, these exercises can be seamlessly integrated into existing training programs.

Tips for Female Athletes

As a female athlete, taking care of your pelvic floor health should be a top priority. Stay hydrated, fuel your body with nutritious foods, and listen to your body's cues. If something doesn't feel right, don't hesitate to seek guidance from a physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor rehabilitation.

Addressing Common Questions

Still have questions about pelvic floor health for female athletes? You're not alone. From understanding the impact of childbirth to knowing when it's safe to return to sports after pelvic floor issues, we've got you covered. Trust the experts and empower yourself with knowledge to reach your full athletic potential.

Conclusion: Empowerment Through Knowledge

In conclusion, mastering the game as a female athlete begins with understanding and prioritizing your pelvic floor health. By partnering with knowledgeable physical therapists and implementing targeted rehabilitation strategies, you can overcome obstacles, prevent injuries, and unleash your full athletic potential. Remember – your body is your greatest asset, so invest in its care and watch yourself soar to new heights of success.


Closing Remarks From the Author

Clinicians sometimes debate whether there is value in postprofessional residency and fellowship training. For me, the value lies within the goals of the individual.

Where do you want to take your career as a physical therapist?
What impact do you want to have on the growth of the profession?
Do you want to be a leader or business owner in a specialty or subspecialty area of practice?

Residency is more than just how you grow during your training, it is how you grow from it. So if your goals don’t end with earning your doctor of physical therapy degree, then residency is a valuable component your career path.

About Shanon M. Fronek, PT, DPT, CSCS

Shanon Fronek
Dr. Shanon Fronek completed her B.S. in Biology at Wilmington College of Ohio in 2011 and graduated from the University of Dayton in 2014 as a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). She is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Functional Movement Screen (FMS) provider, Emergency Medical Responder, and is a credentialed Clinical Instructor. After working for two years in outpatient orthopaedics, she is now working towards specializing in sports physical therapy while completing the Sports Physical Therapy Residency at Saint Francis University. She is passionate about being active within the sports section and expanding the body of knowledge in sports medicine. In 2015, she was appointed to the Public Relations Committee of the Sports Section. Her clinical interests include pathomechanics associated with lower extremity injuries in female athletes, concussion management, and injury prevention strategies for overhead athletes. Outside of the clinic, Shanon enjoys competing in various recreational activities including softball, basketball, and flag football. She also enjoys coaching youth league sports, and supporting the community by volunteering at local Ironman or other endurance-related events. Traveling, running, sunbathing, and watching the Real Housewives are things she likes to do when she turns off her brain.


  1. Ryan Tollis

    Great article, but I am confused on the wording stating it is a requirement for fellowships to first attend a residency.Can you please provide your source for the following:

    “If you are considering becoming a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT), fellowship candidates are required to have completed an orthopaedic residency program and have obtained ABPTS board certification as an Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist.”

    I don’t believe you are required to have attended a residency to become a Fellow, it is just one of the paths to get there. Per the AAOMPT website, eligibility criteria is:

    *Minimum of one year of post- professional orthopaedic clinical experience with one of the following:
    *1. APTA residency training, 2) board certified clinical specialist credential (e.g., OCS), or 3) equivalent of the above determined through portfolio review process.

    If there have been updates to the requirement please share.

    • Shanon Fronek

      Hi Ryan,

      Thank you for sharing your feedback. I understand where the content was a little misleading and I have made some edits.

      You are correct, generally speaking, residency is not always a requirement to participate in a fellowship program. However, when specifically discussing the topic of post-residency careers paths, completing an orthopedic residency program and subsequently obtaining the OCS credential is the most widely accepted requirement across all the OMPT fellowship programs. As you mentioned, there are other pathways to OMPT fellowship including: (1)demonstrating a minimum years of experience (I’ve seen as many as 5 years), and/or (2) being a credentialed clinical specialist in a related area, and/or (3) completing a residency program in a related specialty area. Admissions requirements do vary by program, so readers are encouraged to seek information from each program of interest for more specifics regarding admissions requirements.

      Thanks again for commenting and allowing me to clarify.

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