5 Common Sports Injuries: Cause, Prevention, and Treatment
We know that many of you train at the club for other areas of your life—maybe you want to keep up with your kids playing soccer, or maybe you’re on a sports team.
Whether you’re training for the upcoming season or playing sports to stay healthy and active, we know that sports play an important role in your life.
Like most physical activities, however, there’s always a chance of injury when playing sports. You can fall, trip, make sudden contact with the ground – or each other. That being said, the possibility of getting injured should not deter you from playing the games you love. Sports injuries can be prevented if you take the proper measures.
Preventing and Treating Common Sports Injuries
You can prevent most sports injuries with proper conditioning and stretching, good nutrition, wearing the proper gear/equipment, and using the right techniques. However, they are instances where injuries are inevitable.
Still, sports injuries are usually mild or moderate. While there is obviously some damage, you can often relieve the pain with over-the-counter medication and treat the injury at home with the PRICE method, which is as follows:
P – Protect from further injury
R – Restrict Activity
I – Apply Ice
C – Apply Compression
E – Elevate the injured area
Common Injuries in Sports
We’ve listed five of the most common sports injuries and what causes them:
1. Sprains and Strains
Sprains are a risk for any type of sport. A sprain happens when ligaments are stretched beyond their limits, usually due to falling or sudden twisting motion. Sprains can either be mild or severe, depending on whether the ligament is stretched or torn.
Strains, on the other hand, are injuries to the tendons or muscle fibers. They occur when you stretch a muscle through overextension or overuse it with repetitive motion. When you “pull’ a muscle, you will likely feel a sudden pain and experience limited range of motion on the affected area.
2. Shin Splints
Shin splints are characterized by a shooting pain down the front of the leg. They occur when the muscle that raises the arch of your foot tears away from its attachment to the shin bone but, sometimes, they can also be the result of a stress fracture in the bone.
Runners are most prone to shin splints, but shin splints may also happen when people who aren’t used to exercising suddenly engage in physical activities or increase their pace or intensity too quickly.
3. Knee Injuries
More than 50% of all sports injuries are to the knees. The knee has four ligaments that are susceptible to damage: the ACL, PCL, LCL, and MCL.
Knee injuries are commonly caused by the kneecap repeatedly grinding or moving against the leg bone, or when the knee is twisted, distended or suffers too many impacts from jumping.
Knee injury isn’t something you should take lightly. Without proper rest, healing, and or treatment, it could sideline you permanently.
4. Rotator Cuff Injuries
Your rotator cuff is the series of muscles that hold your shoulders together. It allows your shoulders to perform complex movements and keeps it stable.
Injuries to the rotator cuff are often caused by overuse or when you execute the same motions repeatedly, such as in swimming, baseball, or tennis.
5. Dislocations and Fractures
It can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between a fracture and a dislocation, but they are not the same. A dislocation is when the ends of your bones move out of their socket or normal position, whereas a fracture is, in layman’s terms, a broken bone.
Almost any athlete can suffer from either stress fracture or acute fractures. Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bone caused by improper stress on the joints. Acute fracture, on the other hand, is more serious because it’s an actual break in the bone that needs to be set to heal properly.
Using the PRICE method after a sports injury can significantly reduce the swelling and start the healing faster. However, if you suspect a fracture or observe a deformation in the bone or joint, best see a doctor or a physical therapist immediately.
You should also seek medical attention if there is excessive swelling, drastic change in skin color, or if the injury isn’t getting any better after a few days of applying PRICE therapy.
By Dr. Charles R. Kaelin with Sport Ortho Urgent Care