Having an active lifestyle comes with a price. While engaging in sports is encouraged in order to maintain a healthy and fit body, there are certain instances wherein injuries are unavoidable which can either make or break your career, especially when you are a professional athlete. Although bruises and muscle pain are usual, below are 5 of the most common sports injuries every athlete, whether professional or not, may face.
1. Ankle Sprain
When your sport involves jumping, running, turning quickly or any other rapid pivoting movements, you are most likely to suffer from a sprained ankle. This type of injury is very common among basketball, football, and volleyball players because of the kind of movements they utilize. Usually, a sprain will cause the ankle to swell immediately because of the possible torn ligament. The ankle area is tender to touch and may even hurt when you try to move it. In severe cases, there may be a popping sound followed by extreme pain. Thereafter, you won’t be able to put enough weight on your foot. To make sure that there is no further damage such as broken bone or any other fracture, an X-ray should be conducted.
Treating an ankle sprain may be done by wearing a protective brace, applying an ice pack until the swelling subsides, taking medicines that will help reduce swelling and pain, and performing rehabilitation exercises. Nonetheless, it is very important to strengthen the ankles even if there is no assurance that sprain will occur.
2. Shoulder Injury
20% of sports-related injuries involve the shoulder. This includes dislocation, strain, sprain, torn rotator cuffs, fractures, frozen shoulders, and arthritis. This type of injury is often experienced by swimmers, baseball, volleyball and tennis players, and weightlifters. It can be due to tackling or putting extreme force on the shoulder, sudden twisting, torn ligaments that hold the muscles and bones together, or torn tendons. Swelling, soreness, tenderness, and pain will be experienced.
Shoulders are made up of two bones: the upper arm bone or the humerus, and shoulder blade or the scapula. It is also the most movable joint in the body, making it more prone to injury because of excessive use. Oftentimes, shoulder injuries can be treated through pain medication, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Rehabilitation may also help bring back the shoulder in its normal state.
In severe cases, surgery must be conducted to make the shoulder movable. To prevent further injury on the shoulder, it is also important to strengthen the muscles around it through weight training.
3. Tennis Elbow
This injury is one of the most common injuries associated with tennis players wherein 50% of them will most likely develop it in their career. It is a condition caused by excessive use of arm, forearm, and hand muscles which results in elbow pain. It is also due to the abrupt or subtle injury of the muscles and tendons surrounding the outside of the elbow. Symptoms include pain outside the elbow which can worsen when shaking hands or squeezing objects or moving the wrist with force.
Tennis elbow can be diagnosed through physical examination. Seldom will it require surgery since tennis elbow can be treated through physical therapy, resting the tendons by wearing a brace, application of ice to the affected area, drug medication sand cortisone injections?
In order to avoid the occurrence of a tennis elbow, it is important to use the proper equipment and techniques when doing your strokes, avoid tight gripping or overuse of the wrist and perform forearm strengthening exercises such as wrist curls and squeezing soft rubber balls.
4. Hamstring Pull
Hamstring strains are common among all types of athletes, whether you’re a figure skater, runner, basketball player, or football player. When your hamstring is pulled, it means one of the muscles in the hamstring was stretched too much that in worse cases, causing it to tear. This can occur when the activity involves a lot of running, jumping, or sudden stop and start. It will also occur when you don’t warm up before the actual activity.
Hamstring strain is accompanied by severe pain, snapping or popping feeling, tenderness, or bruises. When this injury happens, it is important to rest your injured leg and put ice on it to reduce pain and swelling. You can also use an elastic bandage and take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen.
In severe cases where the muscles are torn, surgery will be required. As a preventive measure, it is important to stretch before starting any physical activity and performing strengthening exercises.
5. ACL Tear
The knee is composed of several ligaments in order to keep it stable. However, one of the most common injuries experienced by athletes that are into stop-and-go movements is the tearing of the ACL or Anterior Cruciate Ligament. This is often associated with a loud popping sound on the knee, severe pain, swelling, limited or inability to move, and the buckling or giving out of knee when weight is given. This may be due to rapid changing of directions or when your foot is firmly planted on the ground and a sudden force hits your knee or when the knee joint twisted or was bent backward or side to side.
ACL tear may go from mild to severe so it is advisable to undergo an MRI test which will show how much damage was caused not just in the ligaments but also in the tendons, muscles, and cartilage.
Although there are instances when the tear is only mild, surgery need not be done however, there will be a limitation on the movement so it is still advisable to undergo rehabilitation. Otherwise, ACL reconstruction surgery is needed in order to replace the graft, which can either be from the hamstring or patellar tendon.
This is not about scaring you to discouraging you to go into sports. Some injuries associated with sports are results of overuse and not taking care of your body properly. In order to avoid further damage, it is important to warm up, do some stretching, and give your body a rest.