Oh how devastating sports injuries can be. From all age ranges to all levels activity and various sports, many participating in sports will suffer one or more injuries when participating in their sport. There are an abundance of injuries that can take place, some more specific to the particular sport you are playing. Some are acute—more abrupt injuries—or chronic injuries that take place over time. The importance of taking care of yourself in preparation in playing your sport is crucial to reduce the chances of sustaining an injury in your sport. So in this article, we will go over common types of injuries and some strategies to prevent such injuries.
So what are some common injuries that happen in sports?
Muscle strains: “Pulled” muscle:
One of the most common injuries is a muscle strain. Muscle strains occur when your muscle is overstretched or torn usually occurring from a combination of not warming up properly, muscle tightness, overexertion and fatigue. Most commonly, strains occur in your low back, neck, groin, and hamstring muscles.
Some symptoms of muscle strains are:
• Sharp pain in your muscle when performing your sport
• Bruising in the affected area
• Limited movement of painful muscle
• Muscle spasms (“cramping”)
Muscle strains come in different intensities from mild to severe. Mild strains feel slightly stiff but able to tolerate some activity without too much pain. A severe strain is painful to the point where you cannot tolerate or use it at all. Recovery could take weeks or months depending on the severity of the strain.
Bone fractures or stress fractures:
Another common injury in sports, especially in contact or extreme sports such as snowboarding, skiing, or BMX are bone fractures or “broken” bones. The severity of the fracture commonly depends on the amount of force that causes the break. Many fractures are very painful and prevent you from moving the area of injury. Common symptoms are, swelling, bruising and deformity of a limb, depending on the type of fracture. Depending on your age and the severity of the fracture, fractures a can heal as quickly as 3 weeks (if you’re a child) up to 6 weeks in a teenager and even 10 weeks as you age.
A stress fracture is an overuse injury and occurs when muscles become fatigued and unable to absorb any impact to the area. The fatigued muscle eventually can’t take the amount of stress and therefore stresses the bone to crack. Pain with activity is usually the number one symptom and pain will usually subside with rest. To prevent stress fractures, don’t go too hard in your sporting activity. Gradually build the intensity to accommodate the amount of stress your body can take. Maintain an healthy diet incorporated with foods that contain calcium and vitamin D.
Ligament sprains and tears:
Ligament sprains are another common injury athletes can endure. Sprains occur when a ligament connecting bone to bone is stretch or torn. For example, “rolling” your causes ligaments in your ankle to become overstretched or perhaps, torn. A second common joint that’s sprained is the wrist from falling. With these sprains, once you stretch a ligament out, it will never go back to their original length and therefore cause your joint to become increasingly unstable. At first, treatment of sprains usually involves resting, icing and a wearing compression garment to the affected area. Eventually though, physical therapy will be your “go-to” to reduce the risk of reinjuring that area.
The last one and probably the most traumatic injury is a ligament tear. The difference between a ligament sprain and a ligament tear is that sprains only stretch where tears are partial or complete separation of the tissue. You can have either partial ligament tears or full ligament tears. Ligaments attach bone to bone and provide stability to their respective joint. For example, the most common ligament tear is an ACL tear. The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) stabilizes your knee joint. It connects from the end of your thigh bone and the top of the lower leg bone. These types of injuries usually occur in contact sports such as football, or non-contact such has changing direction rapidly, stopping suddenly or landing from a jump incorrectly. When the tear occurs, you will hear a popping sound in your knee. If this happens, seek medical attention.
So with the plethora of injuries that can potentially happen to you, how can you help prevent those injuries? Or if you have sustained such an injury listed above or another such injury what would you do? Seek physical therapy. Physical therapists will help you understand what to do in order to prevent injury and how to recover from an injury already sustained. Based on your injury, physical therapists will teach you specific exercises and stretches to help you avoid injuries.