Prevention is better than cure and having said this “exercise” is considered as the most wonderful prevention in case of sports injuries. An old runner’s adage says, “I have two fine doctors, my right leg, and my left.” It’s true for disease prevention, but for injury treatment, you’ll also need your head and hands.
Injured tissues of the body must be protected against further injury. Small injuries can be protected using first aid components like ointments for pain relief, bandages, elastic bands or simple splints.
Something as simple as tapping the healthy toe on the injured one can make the problem worse. Also, you need to check with your doctor in case the injury requires precision splints or casts.
Injured tissues need time to recover completely and for that rest is the best solution. However, different exercises might propel you to get up and pull up your socks, but its best not to do something strenuous for at least a week or two after an injury. Doing extensive movement after an injury can make it chronic.
Here are the 10 most common sports injuries accompanied by their effective treatments and preventive measures for you to consider:
This comprises 65% of all sports injuries. One-fourth of all cases being examined by orthopedic surgeons are pertaining to “runner’s knee”. Many knee problems are grouped under this term and this occurs when tendons are irritated or the region under the ‘kneecap’ is withering out gradually.
In the case of a “runner’s knee” it’s best not to exercise for at least 2 days. Anti-inflammatory medicines also help.
More or less 20% of all sports injuries are related to or involve the shoulder in some way or the other. Any sport consisting of a lot of overhead movement (basketball, volleyball etc) can lead to shoulder injuries or dislocation. The symptoms of “shoulder injuries” include; pain, stiffness, weakness and slipping sensation in the shoulder bones. Strengthening shoulder muscles with weight training or lifting is the best option to avoid such injuries.
Ankle sprains are very common in sports that involve jumping, running or turning swiftly with a jerk. To treat a sprain one should not rest for more than a day and try to keep the ankle active with low-intensity movement. The ankle should also be moved gently to help improve blood circulation and reduce swelling.
Elbow injuries account for almost 7% of all sports injuries. The pain is experienced in the inner side of the elbow (for Golf elbow) and on the outer side of the elbow (for Tennis elbow). Physiotherapy and a prolonged break from the sport are necessary for recovery.
A stress fracture usually occurs when muscles are no longer able to absorb the impact of physical activity. Eventually bone absorbs the impact and breaks. Majority of the stress fractures occur in lower legs and feet. Stress fractures are more common in women and cause pain during activity. A special shoe or brace help in reducing stress in the bone.
Lower back pain
Lower back pain is also among the common sports injuries and is caused by lifting heavy weights or playing golf. It is the most common form of sports injury among young athletes. Such injuries can cause frustration as they lead to long spells of rest and recovery. This sort of back strain usually resolves either on its own or through rest and anti-inflammatory medications. Other forms of complex back pain issues require surgical intervention.
The hip region of the body consists of two bursae. If either of them gets inflamed then stiffness and pain can occur near the hip joint. Overuse from cycling, running and other activities of a similar nature can cause hip bursitis. This condition leads to hip pain, which gets unbearable at night. Treatment involves the intake of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in order to reduce the pain. Physical therapy and steroid injections can be used depending upon the intensity of the pain.
Muscle strain is another term for a pulled muscle and occurs when a muscle is overstretched and it tears due to extensive stretching. Symptoms consist of pain, swelling, weakness, difficulty, and inability. Muscles in the hamstring, calves, groin and lower back are usually pulled. Minor muscle strains resolve with rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE), serious ones need to be evaluated by the doctor.
Excruciating, unbearable or throbbing pain on the insides of the lower legs is known as “shin splints”. These are repetitive usage injury that may occur in runners, beginners or those who are not used to certain exercises/sports. The pain usually occurs when the muscles and tendons around the tibia (the larger one of the two lower leg bones) become inflamed. Stretching, resting and applying ice can help in relieving shin splints. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can also reduce pain and swelling. Bandaging the area can help in relieving the pain and swelling caused by shin splints. Orthotics and the use of proper athletic shoes can reduce the risk of shin splints and offer support.
Stinger is also known as a burner or nerve pinch injury. In this injury the affected athlete experiences painful electrical sensations in one of the arms. It is a spine injury but should not be confused with a spinal cord injury. The treatment should aim at reducing the pain and electrical sensations in the arm. Acute pain usually subsides with activity restriction, ice followed by heat and pain-killers. Ice should be applied to neck and shoulder region for 48 hours post-injury and after that heat should be used. A cervical collar may also be required for a short period of time to prevent further irritation of the affected nerve.
General precautions can also be taken to avoid sports injuries. Dr Wajid a well-known Surgeons for sports injuries suggest resting between workouts, using protective gear, starting slowly and then gradually increasing pace/intensity/intervals, doing proper warm-up exercises before playing sports. Finally, listening to your body and surrendering on the first signs of pain, discomfort, stress or overheating will also help a great deal in reducing the impact of sports injuries.