By Guest Blogger, Diana S.
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Even though physical activity is the best thing you can do for your body, when you are not being careful, many bad things can happen. Whether you are a professional athlete, a weekend warrior or a rookie, you still have a chance to get injured.
When it comes to injuries themselves, there are countless types and variations, but still, some parts of our body are simply more prone to damage than others.
And in the sea of countless sports injuries, here is the list of the most common ones along with the ways to treat them.
Strained hip flexor
Hip flexors are actually the muscles on the upper front side of thighs. Their main functions are lifting knees towards the trunk and assisting with moving legs toward and away from each other. These muscles can become weak in individuals who spend a lot of time sitting and have a poor posture while sitting.
Sports injuries to this muscle are usually caused by sprinting, inclined running and other activities that involve quick turns and sudden starts.
Symptoms include pain while raising the leg, while climbing stairs or getting out of the car, as well as running. Bruising in the front of upper thighs and groin may also occur.
The best way to treat a strained hip flexor is rest and icing for approximately 20 minutes at a time for the first 72 hours. After those first days of recovery, it is time to apply heat for 20 minutes followed by laying down and gently sliding heels and stretching hip flexor.
If symptoms, pain and limited movement are still present after two weeks, you should make an urgent visit to the doctor’s office.
Torn or strained ACL
The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is the major kneel stabilizing ligament. The most common cause of ACL injury is slowing down and trying to pivot, cut or change direction. When ligaments inside the knee are torn, consequences can be severe.
Common ACL tear symptoms are instability when walking or turning corners, and increased swelling in the knee. However, even though a light strain or tear can be healed with the help of ice and rest, complete tear requires surgery and a couple months of recovery with a very aggressive physical therapy regimen.
This is also called a groin strain. The groin muscles run from the inner thigh right above the knee up to the upper inner thigh. They pull our legs together, and can be injured when performing quick side-to-side movements. The injured person will notice difficulty with lateral movements such as getting in and out of the car, as well as bruising and tenderness in the inner thigh or groin.
Treatment includes rest and icing for 20 minutes periodically during the first three days, and heat after those three days, followed by gentle and proper stretching and range motion exercises.
The most common symptom of a shin splint is pain in tibia – the lower leg bone. Usually, athletes that participate in activities that involve a lot of running (such as soccer players) are the ones who get this injury.
The best way to treat a shin splint is icing, rest and gradually increasing all running activities. Shoes with a quality support also play a major role here.
This is actually a back pain that can travel down the back of your leg and even your feet. The feeling can be associated with burning, numbness and tingling down the leg. It is usually seen in athletes who are often in a flexed forward posture, like cyclists, and ones that perform a lot of trunk rotation like golf and tennis players do. The pain itself can be caused by a pinched nerve or a bulging disc.
To alleviate the symptoms, try laying on your stomach or stretching your back and hamstrings. And if the pain persists for more than two weeks, seek medical assistance.
Hamstrings are muscles located on the back of the thighs. Unfortunately, they can get tight, and are susceptible to strain and injury (pulled muscle). One of the biggest causes is definitely improper stretching and lack of stretching.
This can be treated with icing and rest in early phases, followed by gentle stretching and overall strengthening in order to prevent another injury. If the pain lasts longer than two weeks, the athlete should turn to physical therapy or ultrasound treatments.
Golf or tennis elbow
This injury is usually seen in athletes who perform many gripping activities, just like golf and tennis players – hence the name. Due to strong and repetitive action, forearm tendons become inflamed and make lifting things, making a grip, opening the door, shaking hands and raising your hand or straightening your wrist very painful. Athletes also complain that their grip is weak.
Doctors treat this with anti-inflammatory medications and braces, in order to take the pressure away from the area and prevent further injuries. Stretching techniques applied by a physical or occupational therapist can also break down that stiffness and build strength gradually.
Believe it or not, but according to American Dental Assistants’ Association, every year around 5 million Americans lose teeth in sports-related injuries and probably the most common of them is a cracked tooth.
Cracked tooth happens when a player sustains a sudden blow to the face. Symptoms include a sharp pain when biting down, constantly present tooth pain, especially when eating and drinking, and losing a section of the outer enamel shell. However, this injury isn’t always visible to the naked eye, and a person may not even experience any pain, so there is another reason for doing dental checkups regularly.
When it comes to treating it, it depends entirely on the dentist, but when it comes to preventing it, wearing custom dental sports mouthguards during a boxing, or any full contact sport session is mandatory.
The concussion is the injury to the brain due to the head trauma when the brain is shaken or jarred. Concussions are extremely serious and should never be taken lightly. An athlete who experiences this injury should immediately seek help of a professional who has experience in treating concussions.
Symptoms include confusion, dizziness, headache, nausea, slurred speech, light sensitivity and delayed response to questions.
Common treatment involves rest with the minimal mental or physical stress.
Just because there is a risk of getting hurt, doesn’t mean you should now give up on doing sports. However, just like everything else in life, you have to be smart about it. Never forget to stretch, wear quality sports gear, and you won’t have to worry about anything.
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