Discover Sports Medicine Tips to Prevent Injuries and Avoid Common Sports Mishaps
All right, you have set your new fitness goals, and you are ready to jump right into your brand new intense workout regimen. Perhaps you’ve been admiring the bodies of Michael B. Jordan, Dwayne Johnson, Serena Williams, Jennifer Lopez, or that doggone Naomi Campbell, and you decided hey, I can have a body like that! So now you plan to work out harder than you ever have before. Sounds great, but wait a minute! Before you do too much too fast, you should be aware of five common sports injuries. Keep reading.
According to the National Safety Council, personal exercise accounted for 526,350 sports injuries in 2017. This was followed by basketball injuries of over 500,085, followed by cycling injuries. So as you do your sports routines, your workout regimens, it’s very important to be in tune with your body and to be aware of if you have a sports injury or if you are at risk.
We are going to discuss 5 most common sports injuries
1. Pulled groin or groin strain.
The groin muscles refer to those muscles in the inner thighs that attach the pelvis to the inner thighbone. They are responsible for pulling the legs together. Groin injuries can occur in any workout regimen or physical activity involving rapid side-to-side movement, certainly in sports like football, and baseball, and definitely if you’re doing an intense workout regimen, CrossFit training, and you can mess around and strain the groin if you’re not properly stretched.
The symptoms include a shooting pain in the groin. They can include bruising, swelling, and difficulty walking.
Treatment for a pulled groin
RICE, rest, ice, compression, elevation. So you want to rest the groin which is difficult, especially for a lot of athletes, especially young people who don’t want to rest for as long as they need to rest.
– You also need to ice the groin which consists of taking either an icepack or a bag of frozen vegetables like frozen peas and putting it on that area, but you wanna put a thin towel there so you don’t damage your skin or freeze your skin. And you ice it for 15 minutes at a time every one to two hours for up to two days after the injury.
– One way to prevent a groin strain or a pulled groin is to make sure that you stretch properly that you work out and you stabilize those muscles around the groin.
2. Shin splints also called medial tibial stress syndrome.
Now athletes get shin splints when they change their workout routines, either when they change the intensity or the frequency or the type of exercise, which can certainly happen in someone who’s jumping into a whole new workout regimen. If you have shin splints, you will have pain in the front of your shins, usually in the medial portion or toward the center down in the lower half of the shin, and that pain will be diffuse. It’ll be all over that shin area.
In order to treat the shin splints, again, RICE, rest, ice, compression, elevation. You definitely want to rest or change the intensity of your exercise. You want to ice the area and give your body a chance to heal. When you have shin splints, what’s actually happening is that you’re having an inflammatory response in the connective tissue over the bone. You don’t actually have a broken bone or fracture. Now if you don’t rest those shin splints properly, then you can actually develop a stress fracture.
And you’ll know the difference, because instead of the pain being diffuse, kind of all over that front center part of the shin, you actually have a pinpoint area of pain if you have a stress fracture. So again, pay attention to your body. Make sure you see your doctor if those shin splints aren’t getting better, and you can also take anti-inflammatories especially if you do not have any kidney disease. Consult your physician.
3. Runner’s knee or patellar femoral syndrome.
Now this is a very common sports injury, and if you have a runner’s knee, then you’ll feel pain especially in the upper part of your kneecap or behind your kneecap where your kneecap or patella meets the lower thighbone or the femur. And you get a runner’s knee when you have excessive activity especially if you have a lot of running, jumping, twisting, and you can help to prevent a runner’s knee if you really stabilize that knee; you stabilize the patella.
How do you do that?
Make sure that you have strong muscles around the knee like in the thighs, and also strong muscles around the hip. When you have a runner’s knee, the pain can be exacerbated by squatting, running, or even sitting for prolonged periods of time. Again, to prevent runner’s knee, you want to really make sure that you stabilize those muscles around the knee.
4. Rotator cuff injury
We hear the term rotator cuff all the time, but what exactly is a rotator cuff? Well, the rotator cuff refers to the four tendons which cuff the upper arm bone or the humerus. Now a tendon is a thick tough band of material that attaches muscles to bone, so when it comes to the rotator cuff you have these four tendons that are attached to four muscles that help to stabilize and to rotate the shoulder, the rotator cuff.
You have the supraspinatus which is actually the most important of the rotator cuff and the most vulnerable to injury. This muscle is responsible for lifting that shoulder joint. And then you have the teres minor and the infraspinatus which are responsible for rotating the shoulder outward, and then you also have the subscapularis which is the muscle responsible for rotating the shoulder inward. So together these muscles and tendons help to rotate that shoulder joint.
You are at risk for getting rotator cuff injuries when you have repetitive movement of that shoulder, movements that require frequent stretching of the arms upwards or pushing or lifting. So you can imagine that when you’re doing a new sports routine and you have that intensity up, say you’re doing excess weightlifting, then you can put that shoulder at risk. Certain athletes like baseball players who are throwing and using that shoulder a lot are at risk for rotator cuff injuries. Also in other sports like basketball, hockey, anything where you’re using that shoulder joint frequently and intensely can cause a rotator cuff injury. Now if you just damage the tendon or cause some bruising or some swelling, then it’s called tendinitis or tendinopathy.
And oftentimes RICE, that rest, ice, compression, elevation along with taking anti-inflammatories can be enough. But if you have a tear in the rotator cuff, that could be a little more serious. Now in order to diagnose a tear, you will need to see a physician like a sports medicine doctor, and an MRI can reveal if you’ve had a tear in the rotator cuff. If it’s just a small tear or a moderate-sized tear, then you may still be able to be treated with conservative management like the rest, the ice, and the anti-inflammatories, but if it’s a large tear or it’s causing severe pain, then you may actually need surgery to correct the rotator cuff tear.
Symptoms of rotator cuff injury
Are pain in the tip of the shoulder or in the upper outer shoulder. So beware of the rotator cuff injury as another common sports injury.
5. Ankle sprain.
An ankle sprain occurs when the ankle joint is twisted or turned too far in one direction or the other causing a stretching or even a tearing of the ligaments. So what’s a ligament? A ligament is a broad band of tough tissue that connects bone to bone.
Now this is different from the tendon I talked about in the rotator cuff because tendons attach bone to muscle. So in an ankle sprain, you have again a stretching or tearing of the ligaments that attach the bone to bone. When this occurs, you will get pain in the ankle area. You can also get swelling, and again that treatment is RICE, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Ankle sprains can happen in just about any sport, anything requiring quick changes in motion and agility where you can roll that ankle or stretch those ligaments.
Things you can do to help prevent ankle sprains
Stabilizing the muscles surrounding the ankles, doing proper stretching, making sure you have good supportive strength, wearing proper shoes, and proper ankle support depending on the sport that you’re doing.
Meanwhile, if you’re going to be working out and playing sports, you must be aware of common sports injury number five, ankle sprain.
The bottom line is that if you’re going to be working out or playing sports, then certainly sports injuries are something that can happen, but prevention is key.
Make sure that you consult your physician before starting an intense workout routine, and if you’re able to, consult a physical trainer, someone who knows the body and who’s able to guide you on just how far you should be pushed.
A lot of times we set unrealistic goals for ourselves, too fast, feeling pressure to look exactly like Hollywood stars with perfect bodies. Don’t do that! Just make sure you set goals that are realistic for you and that you pay attention to your body. Love your body, and do what you need to do to prevent sports injuries. If you can’t prevent them, which sometimes you can’t, at least if you remember these five common sports injuries, you will be aware of what the injuries are when and if they occur, and you’ll know how to best manage the injuries.