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How to Avoid the Most Common Sports Injuries

From Shin Splints to ACL Injuries, Here are Some of The Most Common Sports Injuries and What to Do About Them

When you get injured playing sports, it can be a very discouraging experience. Not only does it sideline you from the game, but it may get in the way of your regular daily activities. If the injury is bad enough, you might be unable to work or even walk until the injury heals.

But you shouldn’t let the possibility of an injury get in the way of staying active. Sports are a great choice when it comes to fitting more physical activity into your life, and can help you stay motivated about improving your fitness.

To help you stay on the field and avoid injuries, let’s go over some of the most common sports injuries, how to spot them, and how to prevent them before they happen.

Common Sports Injuries

Tennis Elbow or Golfer’s Elbow

Both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are overuse injuries. They occur when the tendons in your arm get over stressed and tiny tears form in the tissue causing pain, weakness, and stiffness. 

Despite the names of these injuries, they can be caused by any activity that involves repeated use of the arm and wrist. Where they differ is that tennis elbow causes pain on the outside of the elbow, and golfer’s elbow causes pain on the inside of the elbow.

ACL Tear or Strain

The ACL is one of the major ligaments in your knee, and can sometimes get injured by excessive stress such as in sports that involve sudden changes in direction, jumping, and landing.

If you experience an ACL injury, you may hear or feel a “pop” in the knee followed by severe pain, rapid swelling, and loss of range of motion. You may also feel the knee giving way when you try to put weight on it.

Shin Splints

Shin splints are caused by repetitive stress on the connective tissues around your shinbone. It can result when you start playing a new sport, or intensify your training too quickly. This injury causes pain along the shinbone and may cause some mild leg swelling.

Runner’s Knee

Runner’s knee can describe a number of conditions that cause pain around your kneecap. It typically involves irritation of the soft tissues or worn cartilage in the knee. As the name suggests, it is common among runners, but can also be caused by any activity that puts repetitive stress on the knee. 

Hamstring Strain

The hamstring is made up of three muscles behind the knee. Hamstring injuries can range from a mild strain to a complete tear of the muscle. These injuries can be caused by fatigue, lack of a warmup, or improper running technique. It causes sudden pain in the back of the thigh and lower buttock and may cause some bruising.

How to Prevent Injuries

Now that you know some of the basics about what injuries to look out for and how to spot them, here are some tips on how to prevent those injuries before they happen. These preventative measures also apply to many other types of sports injuries.

Warm-up

This is the most important thing you can do to prevent sports injuries. Taking the time to stretch and warm-up before athletics helps prepare your body for the stresses it’s about to face. It increases blood flow to your muscles, loosens your joints, and improves flexibility. In addition to preventing injuries, it can also help with your athletic performance. 

Wear Proper Shoes

Having the right footwear is another important part of preventing injuries. During athletics, your shoes provide cushioning and support that helps you move more efficiently and take some of the stress off your joints.

Ensure you replace your athletic shoes before they get too worn out.

For added support, consider using orthotic inserts or orthotic shoes. They can be custom designed to provide the perfect amount of support and correct imperfections in the way you move. 

Gradually Increase Intensity

Whenever you start playing a new sport or up the intensity of an exercise, it brings some risk of injury. That’s because you put your body under stress that it’s not properly prepared for. 

Take it slow when you’re trying something new. For example, a rule of thumb for distance running is to gradually increase your distance by no more than 10 percent a week.

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