Sports aren’t without risks or injury. Whether you are playing for the national team, for your university intramurals, or just for fun, there is always a possibility of getting injured.
To prevent further damage and long-term complications of any sport-related injuries, here is a list of the 7 most common sports injuries, including immediate management and some treatment options.
1. ACL Tear
ACL, short for Anterior Cruciate Ligament, is one of the main ligaments that stabilize the knee. The most common cause of an ACL strain or tear is improper pivoting and extreme repetitive knee movements. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, and instability when turning to corners while walking, or when going up or down the stairs.
Management: A minimal ACL strain may be treated without surgery by using a cold compress and having adequate rest. For cases of severe ACL tear, surgery may be necessary. Recovery time for a complete ACL tear may take up to 6 months. Also, aggressive physical therapy may be needed before being able to return to any walking or running activity.
2. Ankle Sprain
An ankle sprain is one of the most common sporting injuries of all time. It is simply defined as the tearing of ligaments that connect one ankle bone to another, which is responsible for stabilizing the ankle joint. Athletes who do a lot of walking, running, jumping, twisting, turning, and immediate changes of direction like players for tennis, soccer, basketball, or hockey are prone to this type of injury. Pain, instability, loss of balance, swelling, and stiffness are some of the symptoms related to an ankle sprain.
Management: Immediate management of an ankle sprain (and other soft tissue sporting injury) involves the RICE protocol, short for Rest – Ice – Compression – and Elevation. This protocol should be followed within 48 to 72 hours of injury. This method aims to reduce the inflammation, bleeding, or damage within the joint.
3. Groin pull
A groin pull is just another term for a ‘groin strain.’ This injury occurs when the groin muscles (the muscles that run from the inner thigh above the knee to the mid-upper thigh) are pulled excessively. It happens when the legs lack flexibility and during quick side-to-side movements. Symptoms may include difficulty standing from a chair, pain during lateral movements, trouble in getting out of a vehicle, and bruising or tenderness in the inner thigh or at the groin area.
Management: Treatment includes sufficient rest and periodic application of cold compress for 15 – 20 minutes for the first 72 hours. After three days, a warm compress can be used periodically for 15 – 20 minutes, followed by gentle stretching or range of motion exercises.
4. Hamstring Strain
Hamstring strain is also known as a ‘pulled muscle.’ It is common to runners and athletes who deal with a lot of running and walking. The thigh is where the hamstring muscle is located, which makes it susceptible to strain when too much exercise or activity causes the hamstring muscles to be tight and rigid. Lack of and improper stretching habits can contribute to this condition. Athletes with a hamstring strain experience bruising and pain at the back of the knee or thigh.
Management: Rest and cold compress are done in the early treatment phase for a pulled muscle, followed by gradual and gentle stretching to prevent hamstring tear and another injury. If pain due to a pulled muscle extends to more than two weeks, doctor consult is necessary to diagnose the condition. In some cases, physical therapy is recommended to promote healing of the affected hamstring.
5. Patellofemoral Syndrome
Majority of sports injuries involve the knees. Patellofemoral syndrome is one of the most prevalent knee injuries affecting athletes. This injury results from a repetitive movement of the kneecap against the thigh bone or by a fall or slip unto the knees. It may also be a result of muscle imbalance involving the knees or swelling of the knee joints. The kneecap, also known as the patella, normally moves along the groove at the end part of the thigh bone (femur). Due to swelling, fall or slip, as well as muscle imbalance, the kneecap won’t be able to track the groove at the femur properly. This wrong movement of the patella and femur results in more swelling and inflammation that makes walking or running painful.
Management: Cold compress and sufficient rest periods can help reduce pain and swelling. To correct the imbalance and the abnormal patellar movement, certain exercises (static/ isometric/ strengthening) may be beneficial. If the pain and swelling become worse for more than two weeks, a referral to a sports therapist could help.
A physical therapist may perform more aggressive strengthening or stretching, and may use bracing techniques or knee tapping to assist the kneecap in tracking along the edge of the femur.
6. Shin splints
Shin splints are common among athletes who participate in activities that involve frequent running such as those who join marathons and soccer. Individuals with shin splints usually complain about pain on the tibia, or in the lower leg bone.
Management: Shin splints are managed and treated with rest, cold compress, and are prevented by avoiding activity/mileage increase too quickly. Wearing shoes with correct arch support can also help in pain reduction and can assist in recovery.
7. Tennis Elbow (Epicondylitis)
Tennis elbow or epicondylitis usually occurs to athletes who perform prolonged gripping activities. It is also known as “golfers’ injury” and may be classified as an overuse sports injury. It occurs as a result of putting repetitive stress on the forearm, which becomes inflamed and tender. Individuals with tennis elbow injury report a lack of grip strength, and difficulty or pain when moving the wrist or the arms.
Management: Early treatment involves rest and cold compress in the painful, inflamed area. Anti-inflammatory medications may also be prescribed to relieve inflammation. The use of an arm or wrist brace may take the pressure of the joint and may prevent further complication. Follow up treatment during the late stages involves stretching and strengthening techniques applied by a physical therapist or an occupational specialist to lessen stiffness and gradually strengthen the affected areas.
Managing Sports Related Injury at Pegasus Pain Management Clinic
If you are injured, and in need of a sport-injury treatment, Pegasus Pain Management Clinic offers the most effective treatments and the best care in Dallas, Texas. For more information on how we can help you, be sure to book an appointment with us today.