When you lead an athletic lifestyle, you do it knowing you risk the potential for injury. While this shouldn’t deter you from continuing with sports and other physical activity, it is beneficial to be aware of the common sports injuries, understand a little bit about them, and know what to do if you ever have one. Keeping yourself educated on these injuries will help prevent you from getting them in some cases and provide you with everything you need in the event that you do experience a sports injury. In this post, we will uncover nine of the most common sports injuries and what you can do if you have one.
- Shin Splints: A case of shin splints commonly affects long-distance runners, sprinters, and anyone else who does copious amounts of running drills for an extended period of time. Shin splints cause pain up and down the front of the legs after extensive running, particularly if it is done on paved roads. To prevent shin splints, take running drills or sessions to areas that are not paved (such as trails, tracks, parks, and beaches) and make sure you rest your legs sufficiently in between each run. You want to allow your bones and muscles enough time to relax so they can become strengthened. In order to treat shin splints, you can simply use the R.I.C.E. method (rest, ice, compress, and elevate). If you think you have shin splints, ice your shins, take the recommended amount of pain reliever medication, and take some time off from running.
- Ankle Sprain: Of all the most common sports injuries, the ankle sprain may be at the top. This can affect everyone from track and field athletes to basketball players to snow sport athletes. Some ankle sprains are more serious than others so if you feel like your sprain is severe, you should see a doctor to determine what treatment is needed. In less serious cases, you should spent some time off your foot as well as slowly exercise it. You don’t want to lose strength and flexibility in your ankle and foot, so make sure you set aside a period of time each day to exercise your sprained ankle.
- ACL Injury: An ACL injury, which stands for anterior cruciate ligament, occurs when the ligament that connects the leg bone to the knee is torn. The ACL can become torn during competitive sports games including volleyball, football, and soccer among others. In almost all cases, an ACL injury will require surgery. Because it is one of the most severe kinds of sports injuries, it is important to see a doctor immediately if you believe you have an ACL tear. Surgery will be followed by a period of time in a cast or brace and some physical rehabilitation.
- Groin Pull: This injury is often experienced by hockey players, baseball players, soccer players, and any other athlete who performs frequent side-to-side motions. A groin pull should be treated with a period of rest, pain reliever, and an ice package compressed over the area. If you return to your athletics too soon after a groin pull, it will only further aggravate the problem. If the swelling persists or worsens, it is important to consult a doctor for further treatment.
- Various Knee Injuries: Over five million people will visit an orthopedic surgeon annually due to different knee injuries. While not every knee injury will result in surgery, it is vital that you treat your injury appropriately so that it won’t lead to extensive problems or the need for surgery in later years. Severe knee injuries lead to damaged ligaments and cartilage and mainly affect four ligaments: MCL (medial collateral ligament), PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), LCL (lateral collateral ligament), and ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). If these ligaments in the knee are injured, surgery will most likely be needed. Milder knee injuries include tendinitis (when the tendon in the knee degenerates or becomes inflamed) and runner’s knee (this results in pain and tenderness in the knee cap). In these situations, it is crucial that you rest the knee before going back into any sports or physical activities. Anyone suffering from a milder knee injury can also consider pain medication and regular ice compression.
- Dislocations: A dislocation injury mostly affects any athlete who participates in contact sports such as football or mixed martial arts. A dislocated shoulder is the most common dislocation injury, however it can also affect the knees, hips, and elbows. Because a dislocation is seen as an emergency, professional medical attention will be needed right away to ensure the injury does not worsen. The dislocated area will have to be put back in place and a cast, brace, or sling may be required afterward.
- Various Shoulder Injuries: While dislocated shoulders are quite common, there are other types of shoulder injuries as well. These include strains and sprains which are usually caused by overuse of the shoulder. A shoulder sprain or sprain can affect a baseball pitcher, swimmer, tennis player, and weight lifter among other types of athletes who use an overhead motion with their arms. If you suspect you are suffering from a shoulder sprain or strain, it is important to take a break from using it in your athletic activities. In addition to rest, you should ice and compress the area and talk to a doctor about recommended anti-inflammatory medicine. The best way to prevent a shoulder sprain or strain is by practicing strength-building exercises in addition to your sports.
- A Hamstring Pull: A hamstring pull can affect any person of any athletic level at any age. The primary culprit behind a strained hamstring is lack of flexibility in the muscle. This is why it is so key to warm up and stretch before rigorous exercise. Without doing this, you put yourself at risk for a pull in your hamstring that could lead to lots of time off from your sports. A strained hamstring can also be caused by falling down, hurdling in track and field, or general overuse of the muscle. The major downside to this injury is that it takes a very long time to recover. You can expect to be out of commission for anywhere from 6-12 months. If you have a hamstring injury, ease your way back into gentle exercise very slowly. You should also regularly stretch your leg, rest, and ice the area. If needed, you can also take anti-inflammatory medication.
- Concussion: Like a dislocation injury, concussions commonly happen in contact sports. Medical attention is usually required in the case of a concussion. Common symptoms include dizziness, nausea, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. Most concussions take anywhere from two weeks to a month to fully heal. In that time, the athlete should rest and stay away from contact sports. If an athlete returns to their physical activity too soon after a concussion and more concussions occur, it could lead to permanent brain damage.
The original article can be found here.