For amateurs and professionals alike, sports injuries are a common occurrence. They can also range from mild damage needing only a few days to recover to months spent in physical therapy. We’ve assembled a list of the most common type of sports injuries and how they can be avoided the next time you play.
Ankles are some of the most essential and surprisingly delicate parts of the body. Athletes in any sport requiring serious movement can sustain an ankle injury by merely stepping down incorrectly or stepping into a hole in the grass. Ankle strains can happen when the ligaments in an ankle tear or get stretched or twisted too much. Most often, they can occur on the outside of the ankle when you “roll” your foot. Sports that require lots of jumping, such as basketball or volleyball, have a high incidence of ankle sprains. While you can never know when a field might have a random hole in the ground, you can improve your balance and strengthen your ankle using certain physical therapy techniques. Flexibility training might also help by giving your tendons more range to move.
Groin Pull/ Strain
Groin strain happens when the tendon attached to the pelvic bone is strained or torn. It can range in severity from mild discomfort to severe pain depending on the level of damage. In sports, these injuries usually occur when sprinting or changing direction too quickly. In martial arts, kicking too high can also result in a strain. Athletes can prevent this by warming up properly before starting and by strengthening the groin muscles in general, such as seated adduction machine use, one-legged lunges, and so on.
Hamstring strains can be incredibly painful. It is a strain or tear in the muscles and tendons that run along the back part of your thigh. Again, one of the contributing factors of this kind of injury is not warming up properly before playing. However, sudden onset bursts of speed can also put tremendous force on the area, which could cause the strain. You can help avoid this injury by using a massage stick on your hamstring, doing exercises like deadlifts, and stretching the area, so it becomes more flexible.
Shin splints can happen to many athletes, especially runners. It is a lower leg pain that occurs in the shin area, and often indicates irritation or tears in the muscles of the area. Most of the athletes who sustain them have not trained enough or have changed their exercise routine too abruptly. Activities that can help prevent shin splints include toe raises, which bulk up potentially weak anterior tibialis muscles. These exercises can help to avoid shin injuries by building up your muscle strength.
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the major ligaments in the knee. Some athletes are unfortunate enough to sustain an injury to this ligament, which may feel like a “pop” in the knee area. It can also be incredibly painful to put pressure on. They happen if an athlete suddenly stops, jumps, or changes direction. While you may not be able to avoid sudden changes in direction, you can always warm up your knees before playing. Your knees need blood circulation to keep limber and flexible. Try doing exercises that will strengthen the knee, such as squats and lunges.
Tennis elbow is also known as lateral epicondylitis. It is a pain focused on the outside of the arm, where your elbow meets your forearm. Unlike the other injuries, it is typically a result of repetitive stress. For example, tennis players often make the same motions over and over again, which can lead to an irritation of the muscles and tendons of your arm. If untreated it can become a chronic problem. Likewise, the more you make a motion, the greater your chance of getting it. In order to avoid it, it can help to do some repeated stretches before and after you begin playing, including a wrist flexion stretch and a wrist extension stretch. In addition, you can use a massage stick to gently work the muscles on the top of your forearm, focusing on working any tender areas. Using the correct hitting technique can also place less stress on your elbow.
If you’re an athlete, make sure your body is as flexible and strong as it can be to avoid these injuries. However, if you’ve sustained an injury, don’t hesitate to call our Aberdeen physical therapists. Our clinic is the premier provider of physical rehabilitation in New Jersey. We are also the only fellowship trained therapists in Monmouth County. Our physicians are dedicated to providing each of our patients with individualized, insightful, and compassionate clinical care to improve and enhance their quality of life. Let us see what we can do for you. Contact us at (732) 333-6360 to schedule a consultation today.