Staying physically active is a key component to health, and sports provide a fun and engaging method of exercise. However, it is necessary to be wary of the possibility of a sports injury so that you may be better prepared to both prevent and care for any injury that may occur. The severity of the injury will determine whether you can simply heal yourself at home, or if you will need physical therapy or surgery. Being informed of the most common sports injuries will help you to prevent them from happening in the first place.
This sports injury is an inflammation of the tendons of the elbow, caused by repeated use of the elbow and forearm. It occurs commonly in players of baseball, golf, and— as the name suggests—tennis, and is usually found in people aged 30 – 60. It is recommended to discontinue any participation in the sport until pain decreases to heal tennis elbow.
A knee injury, patellofemoral syndrome refers to damaged tissue under the kneecap, which occurs when the kneecap rubs against the thigh bone excessively. High impact exercise can cause this sport injury, such as running, jumping, or crouching. This injury may take six weeks to heal, and during this time, it is important to practice low impact sports only.
This knee injury happens when the anterior cruciate ligament, which holds the leg bone to the knee, is sprained or torn, partially or completely. It can be caused by shock to the area or by moving suddenly. An ACL tear is considered to be the most serious common sports injury, and a sports injury of this severity will require a doctor’s attention, physical therapy, and likely, surgery.
A cumulative stress sports injury, shin splints are felt as deep pain in the legs between the ankle and knee. It is a very common injury for runners due to the continual impact that running brings upon the legs. When possible, wear shock absorbing shoes and avoid running on paved roads. To treat shin splints, you will need time, rest, and ice to relieve any pain or swelling.
Most usually a result of sharp kicking away from the body, such as hurdling, a hamstring strain indicates excessive stretching of the three muscles that the back of the upper leg consists of. This sports injury is generally difficult and costly in time to heal due to everyday walking. It can take up to a full year to heal entirely, during which time it is important not to continue any activity that could have caused the strain, or else risk re-injury.
Sudden and recurring side-to-side movement may produce stretched, strained, or torn inner thigh muscles, known as a groin pull. Usually, sports that require fast action such as football, baseball, hockey, or soccer can lead to this sports injury. Rest, compression, and ice are the ingredients to heal a groin pull at home, but it is vital to seek specialized healthcare to see a doctor if you notice a large amount of swelling.
This sports injury is perhaps the most frequently seen injury in sports. A sprained ankle may occur when the ankle is turned accidentally inwards, straining, stretching, or tearing the outside ankle ligaments. Gentle exercises recommended by a physical therapist should be done after a sprain in order to keep the ankle strong and flexible, which is the key to avoid re-injuring it. While some ankle sprains may be healed within four or five days at home, it is recommended to see a doctor if you feel pain above the ankle, which could indicate a more serious sprain, and which may require medical attention.
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so everybody who participates in sports should first and foremost educate themselves on the sports injury that is most common to their sport, and on how to prevent that sports injury from occurring. Generally, stretching gently and warming up the muscles before exercise can thwart off any sports injuries from occurring. If, in any case, you do find yourself with an injury, remember to treat the area gently, discontinue any strenuous activities, and to elevate, ice, and compress the injury. If the pain is severe or does not clear after careful treatment, or if you notice any deformities or abnormal coloring, it is best to consult a doctor on what to do next.