Anyone who plays sports, whether for a school team, an organized league, or just with a group of friends for weekend fun, should know about the most common injuries. In fact, if you become acquainted with the 10 sports injuries that comprise about 98 percent of the total, you’ll be ready to get treatment if you hurt yourself while playing your favorite game.
What’s more, you can learn about the smartest ways to prevent injuries from occurring in the first place. That means you won’t have to seek treatment at all. But if you are a frequent participant in any sport, or just a “weekend warrior,” familiarize yourself with the following list of sports injuries, their causes and common treatments.
Ten Frequently Occurring Sports Injuries
Here are the top ten sports injuries reported by active teens and adults, their most common causes and most effective treatments. Note that RICE is a common form of treatment for several items on the list. The letters refer to “rest, ice, compression and elevation.”
- Golf/Tennis Elbow: Overuse is the leading cause of this common problem for runners and basketball players. The
- Pulled Muscles: Causes of this very typical injury include not warming up properly, not stretching and general inflexibility. Rest, elevation and ice can help most cases heal quickly but in extreme situations, visit a doctor and get immediate assistance.
- Runner’s Knee: Overuse of the tendon that sits directly underneath and below the kneecap is the cause of this, the most common of all sports injuries. Proper shoes, regular stretching and light strengthening exercises can prevent runner’s knee. Treatment includes several weeks of rest, RICE and light daily stretching of the legs.
- Injured Shoulders: Most typically the result of overuse, shoulder injuries can be treated with RICE, stretching and therapeutic massage. It’s also smart to strengthen the area with weight-lifting exercises after you’re healed to prevent a future occurrence.
- Sprained Ankles: Jumping, running and turning too abruptly cause these common injuries for soccer enthusiasts, basketball players and other athletes. Taping the ankle and stretching before play are effective preventive strategies. Treatment includes RICE and light stretching until the sprain is healed.
- Concussion: A blow to the head can cause a mile or more serious concussion. You don’t need to lose consciousness to have one. Prevention in most cases means wearing a helmet. Treatment most commonly involves rest and refraining from play for several days, weeks, or months.
- Shin Splints: When you have shinbone pain, especially the kind that is intense and lasts more than a few minutes, you likely have a shin splint. Wearing good shoes, avoiding jumping on hard surfaces and warming up with stretching are usually adequate preventive measures. Treatment regimens often include RICE and therapeutic massage.
- Achilles Tendonitis: This overuse injury to the backs of the ankles can be quite painful. Warming up with a thorough stretching routine and doing regular calf exercises can help avoid it. Treatment includes RICE and stretching of the muscles on a regular basis.
- Low-Back Pain: Pain in the lower back can be mild to severe. It’s often caused by forcing “cold” muscles into immediate action, which means proper stretching is the leading cause. Treatment can range from RICE to a visit to the chiropractor’s office.
- Groin Strain: The cause of groin injuries is changing directions while running. Prevention is the RICE method and perhaps several weeks of recuperation and light activity.
How To Prevent Injuries
Of course, the only 100 percent effective preventive measure is to refrain from participating in sports. But that’s unrealistic because tens of millions of people take part in fun, competitive forms of exercise every day. While there may be some injuries, recreational sports represent one of the best ways for people to stay in top physical shape.
So, what are some realistic ways of preventing injuries? For contact sports like football and boxing, wearing headgear is the smartest way to avoid about 90 percent of the injuries that take place in those kinds of activities. For groin injuries, the best preventive measure is to gradually increase activity rather than begin at full-throttle when you play.
For all kinds of injuries, it’s important to wear the right equipment, like shoes, helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, gloves, and goggles. Whatever the particular sport calls for is the minimum protection you need.
Rest is another thing that can help many people avoid various injuries. Playing any sport when you’re too tired can lead to unwise risk-taking, over-exertion and inability to take the necessary precautions during play. Always get enough sleep before taking part in sports of any kind.
Stretching before and after physical activity is one of the most universal forms of prevention. Stretching helps muscles warm-up and cool down. It’s the ideal way to get the body ready for a higher level of exertion. Runners and swimmers, for example, who don’t properly stretch before and after their sports are much more susceptible to pulled muscles, strains, sprains and a wide range of other problems during their activity of choice.
It’s not enough to know about the prevention and treatment of sports injuries. Every participant should understand what to do in an emergency. When someone is immobilized, unable to breathe or unconscious, call for emergency medical help if there’s not a professional nearby. In many cases, immediate transport to an emergency room is the number one priority.
For lesser problems, like twisted ankles and sore elbows, you can deal with the situation at home by using the RICE approach. If the injury doesn’t get better within a day or two, consider a visit to the chiropractor.
Getting Chiropractic Help
Our office has a qualified team of professionals who know how to treat virtually every type of sports injury. When pain and swelling are involved, a therapeutic massage can often relieve the majority of symptoms. In fact, regular visits to the chiropractor can work to help you prevent injuries by making sure muscles are functioning properly and body alignment is not out of kilter.
We treat sports injuries regularly and always show our clients how to prevent getting hurt in the first place. Whether it’s teaching about prevention, delivering appropriate massage therapy, doing physical therapy on injured athletes or simply performing regular adjustments on active bodies, our chiropractors can help you prevent and avoid all the common sports injuries.
Further, our doctors can even help you boost your performance by helping get your body in top shape with periodic visits, regular massage and diagnostic adjustments. Contact our office today if you’ve been hurt in a sport or want to learn how to perform at your very best.