Common Sports Injuries & How to Treat Them
Sports injuries are a common part of the athletic world. Some injuries are more common than others, especially sprains and strains. Sprains are injuries to ligaments, the tough bands that connect the bones in a joint. When a ligament is stretched past its limit, it can deform or tear that ligament resulting in a sprain. A strain is an injury to the muscle itself or the tendons that anchor muscles to the bones. Overuse of a muscle can cause tears to the muscle fibers or tendons.
Sport Injury Prevention
Sports injuries are often preventable. Warming up properly is the most important thing you can do to prevent this type of strain. By warming up, you increase the blood flow to the muscles, allowing them to be more flexible and decreasing the chances of injury. It is important to ensure your body is trained for the activity you are participating in, Hiking, team sports and running are all activities that require training prior to full participation.
Treating Sport Injuries
Most sports injuries are fairly mild and can be treated at home. However, there are some injuries that may take months to heal, even with treatment. More serious injuries may require surgery.
Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries an athlete might encounter. It typically happens when the foot turns inward, which stretches or tears the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. Exercise is one of the most important aspects of healing an ankle sprain. This prevents loss of flexibility and strength and helps prevent re-injury. If an ankle sprain is higher on the ankle, it should be seen by a doctor to insure that the bones in the leg did not separate. This type of sprain can be recognized by tenderness above the ankle.
A pulled groin muscle can occur when someone pushes in a side-to-side motion, causing strain to the inner thigh muscles. These types of injuries can be treated with compression, ice and rest. Returning to activities too quickly after a groin injury has the potential to turn it into a long-term injury, so it is important to take the time necessary to heal. It is important to note that any groin injury that has a significant amount of swelling should be seen by a doctor.
The hamstring is the group of muscles on the back of the thigh. These can be overstretched by activities such as hurdling or waterskiing. Hamstrings are one of the slowest injuries to heal because we constantly apply pressure to them as we walk. It can take six to twelve months to fully heal, so re-injuries are common.
There are things you can do to speed up the healing process. Although swelling is a normal response to injury, it can become an issue if it is excessive. Applying ice immediately after an injury helps prevent the inflammation that causes swelling. This should be done in 20 minutes increments every one to two hours for the first 48 hours after injury. Applying heat during this time could make thing worse. Protecting the muscle or ligament from further injury can allow for faster healing. Compression and elevation can also help speed things along and reduce swelling. If an injury is severe, it may be necessary to protect the area with a splint or crutch. Restricting activity prevents the injury from becoming worse,
Over the counter pain medications are usually enough to relieve the pain of common sports injuries, and if they are not working, it may be time to visit the doctor. A few other signs that medical intervention is necessary include deformities in the bone or joint, being unable to use the limb, excessive swelling or changes in the color of the skin. If it does not get better within a few days, that would be another reason to seek medical help.