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Sports Injuries: What are the Most Prevalent?

Injuries that occur while exercising or engaged in sports are generally referred to as “sports injuries.”

Regardless whether you’re an elite athlete or a weekend warrior, there is always the probability of getting injured. While some sports injuries are the result of accidents, others can be attributed to improper gear and poor training practices. In addition, not stretching or warming up properly before playing or exercising can also lead to injuries.

Below are some of the most common sports injuries to watch out for:

Shin Splints

Shin splints are characterized by shooting pain down the inner side of the shin bone (tibia) in the leg. While the condition is more common among runners, shin splints can occur in people who are not used to exercising or those who drastically increase the intensity of their exercise routines. In other cases, shin splints may mask a stress fracture in the bone. To differentiate the two, stress fractures often occur in the upper half of the leg and shin splints the lower half.

Fortunately, minor cases of the condition will often respond to rest, icing, and over-the-counter pain medications. If resting will not alleviate the pain, visiting an orthopaedic specialist is recommended to check to exclude a stress fracture.

Hamstring Strain

A strain is a tendon or muscle injury, while a sprain is of a ligament. The hamstring is made up of 3 muscles. They can get “pulled” when the muscles are overused or overstretched. Pain is caused by tears in the tendons or muscles.

In some cases, bruising can occur in the area of pulled hamstrings. Lacking flexibility and forgetting to warm-up might result to pulled muscles, especially in the hamstrings. Hamstring injuries can take a very long time to heal, usually by scarring. It sometimes spells the end of an athlete’s career. Resting, applying cold packs, taking anti-inflammatory drugs, and gentle stretches can be very beneficial for those who are suffering from hamstring strains.

Patellofemoral Syndrome

A whopping 55 percent of all sport injuries are knee injuries. In addition, at least 25 percent of the problems treated by orthopaedic surgeons are knee injuries.

Patellofemoral syndrome or knee injuries are often attributed to the repetitive moving of the kneecap against the lower end of the thigh bone. The repetitive movement can damage the gliding cartilage or ligaments of the kneecap and can cause pain. Those who are engaged in cycling, football, volleyball, swimming, basketball, weightlifting and running are susceptible to patellofemoral syndrome.

This type of injury can take at least 6 weeks to heal. To keep the leg muscles strong, low impact exercises are recommended. Wearing footwear with the right fit can also help minimize the chances of getting knee injury. For runners, running on soft surfaces (like indoor tracks) instead of concrete can also help keep knee injuries at bay. For minor knee injuries, resting, icing the affected area, and taking anti-inflammatory medications will suffice. In severe cases, however, seeing an orthopaedic specialist is considered ideal so the proper treatment intervention will be provided.

Shoulder Injury

Shoulder injuries including strains, sprains, and dislocation make up at least 20 percent of sports-related injuries. In most cases, shoulder injuries are attributed to overuse. Common culprits include sports that involve overhead movement like swimming, baseball, volleyball, tennis, basketball, and weightlifting. Minor shoulder injuries can be treated with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications. Doing stretching and strength-building exercises during off season is recommended to help keep shoulder injuries at bay.

Groin Pull

Groin is another term given to the inner thigh muscle. Sports that involve moving in side-to-side motion (i.e. soccer, football, baseball, and hockey) may increase one’s instance of getting groin pulls. This type of injury can cause bruising on the inside of the thigh.

With ice, compression, and lots of rest, the condition can heal easily in a week or two. However, if there’s noticeable swelling around the groin injury, checking with a doctor would be recommended.

ACL Tear

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) works by connecting the leg bone to the knee. Drastic direction changes and stopping or a hard impact on the side of the knee may cause strain or tear to the ACL. When the ligament has been completely torn, surgery will be required. If you think you have an ACL injury, checking with your doctor immediately is recommended.

Tennis or Golfer’s Elbow

At least 7 percent of all sports injuries are attributed to elbow injuries. Also known as epicondylitis, the condition is often considered the result of repetitive elbow use. The repetition can create tiny tears in the ligaments of the elbow. While pain may be experienced on the outside of the elbow, experiencing pain on the outside is more common. The condition is more common among individuals who are 30 to 60 years old.

In minor cases, anti-inflammatory drugs, ice, and rest would prove beneficial. In more persistent cases, however, a break from the sport and checking with the doctor would be required. To help prevent the condition from developing, elbow braces and forearm stretching and strengthening exercises are considered helpful.

Sciatica

Sciatica is a condition characterized by lower back pain that extends down the back of the thigh and legs. The condition often affects those who participate in golf, baseball, cycling, running, and tennis. Back spasms and bulging discs are other types of lower back pain many athletes are also susceptible to. Fortunately, while bulging discs and sciatica will require immediate medical attention, back spasms will often respond to ice, rest, and anti-inflammatory medications.

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