HOW TO TREAT AND PREVENT THE 3 MOST COMMON SPORTS INJURIES
We all want to be healthier and may even want to challenge ourselves to be more active. Whether we are new to exercising, sports, or have been training for a while now, we need to be sure that we are taking care of our bodies and preventing injuries. Below are the 3 most common injuries and how to treat them:
A sprain is a ligament injury that often occurs when sudden force is applied to a joint or to a bone that forms a joint. A minor sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched, and a serious sprain occurs when a ligament is completely ruptured, or torn. Sprains are very common in the ligaments of the ankle, knee, elbow, shoulder and thumb.
Minor sprains involve some pain, swelling and tenderness, which you usually can treat at home with rest, ice, compression and elevation. Most minor sprains begin to feel better within two days and fully resolve within one to two weeks.
A strain, sometimes called a “pulled” muscle, is a muscle tear often caused by sudden stretching or forceful contraction, usually during a change of speed or direction. A minor strain involves minimal torn or damaged muscle fibers, and a severe strain is a complete rupture of the muscle.
Strains are very common in the hamstring, quadricep, calf, groin, rotator cuff and lower back muscles. Symptoms include pain when contracting or stretching the muscle, tenderness, swelling and bruising.
Most strains can be treated at home with rest, ice, compression and elevation and should begin to feel better within a few days of injury. You can return to your normal activities after the muscle strain feels better, and when the strained muscle regains the same flexibility and strength as the corresponding muscle on the other side of your body.
3. Overuse injuries
Overuse injuries are the result of repetitive stress on your tendons, bones and joints and can be caused by overtraining, imbalances between strength and flexibility, poor body alignment and incorrect technique. Examples of common overuse injuries include tendonitis, stress fractures, shin splints, bursitis and joint pain, especially in the knee or elbow.
Overuse injuries in adults are often caused by repeated performance of the same activities, such as running or cycling, with no variation.
Some overuse injuries respond to home treatment using and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications.
There are precautions we can take that will make injury less likely. Many injuries are a result of our bodies not being conditioned for the activity we are doing. One of the best ways to prevent sports injuries is to train properly for any athletic activity you’re going to perform. For example, adequately training for a marathon will dramatically decrease your chance for injury. Or, if you decide to take up a new fitness routine, such as CrossFit, start slowly and build up gradually.
You also should wear the appropriate, properly fitted equipment for your chosen activity. Adults should avoid performing the same activity repeatedly and alternate between strength-training and cardiovascular exercise. Children should avoid overspecializing in one sport by participating in a variety of activities. Children and adults also should get adequate rest between training sessions to avoid over exercising.
Remember that every workout should start with a warm up. Getting warmed up increases the blood flow to your muscles and gets you more flexible.
Finally, don’t forget to cool down. Take about ten minutes to slow down and stretch. This helps return your heart rate to normal and reduce soreness in muscles.
If you experience severe pain, swelling, bruising, immobility, or pain that doesn’t go away we highly advise you see your doctor or a local Physical Therapist as soon as possible.
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