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  Pauline Blum   September 3, 2015   Feet, Sports, Medical, Injury 0 Comments

All about sprains, strains and other sports injuries

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Velocity Care shares ways to prevent and treat common athletic injuries

The long summer days of relaxing in the sun without a care in the world are coming to an end; vacation is over and it’s time to get back to your daily routines. If you’re an athlete, that includes your athletic training routine. But before you grab your running shoes and hurry off to the gym or field, make sure you take the proper health precautions to prevent an injury.

Common injuries to look out for

Sports injuries are incredibly common for athletes, but are both preventable and treatable. Some common injuries include:

  • Ankle sprain

    • Most athletes experience a sprained ankle at some point in their lives. It occurs when the foot turns too far inward and stretches or tears the ligaments on the outside of the ankle, which are generally pretty weak.

    • An ankle sprain usually requires rest from physical activity for a couple of days, as well as compression, elevation and ice for quicker healing.

    • When you should see a doctor: If the injury is located higher in your ankle, it’s referred to as a high ankle sprain and you should see a doctor, as this type of injury may heal more slowly.

  • Groin pull

    • Hockey, football, soccer and baseball players in particular suffer from groin injuries. A groin pull is caused by side-to-side movement that strains the inner thigh or groin muscles.

    • Rest, ice, compression and elevation will likely cure a pulled groin.

    • When you should see a doctor: If you experience severe swelling, consult a physician.

  • Hamstring pull

    • A hamstring pull occurs when you over-stretch the muscles in the back of the thigh. The pulling of the hamstring is common in many exercise activities including hurdling, running, dancing and waterskiing.

    • Hamstring injuries are often slower to heal because of the constant stress walking puts on the tissues in the thigh. Complete healing time can range from a couple of weeks to many months. If you experience an injury, it’s important to rest and avoid strenuous activity that could further damage the hamstring.

  • Shin splints

    • Shin splints are shooting pains in the lower leg, often caused by running.

    • Rest, elevation, ice, compression and over-the-counter medication are generally the best treatments for shin splints.

    • When you should see a doctor: If your pain continues for a prolonged period of time, even during rest, you should consult a physician as you may be suffering from a stress fracture.

  • Torn ACL

    • The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) attaches the leg bone to the knee. The sudden cuts, stops or changes in movement or direction that are common in many sports can cause this ligament to pull or tear. A complete tear is often associated with a “popping” sound.

    • When you should see a doctor: If you believe that you may have torn your ACL, always see a physician immediately to avoid further damage. Severe ACL tears often require surgery and months of rehabilitation.

  • Patellofemoral syndrome

    • Patellofemoral syndrome occurs when too much stress is put on the cartilage beneath the kneecap, causing damage. It’s usually a result of repetitive movement of the kneecap against the thigh bone (femur) and can cause the athlete significant pain in the lower knee. Runners, gymnasts, basketball players and volleyball players are at high risk for this injury since jumping puts stress on the knee.

    • Rest is the best treatment for patellofemoral syndrome since the injury can often take up to 6 weeks to heal fully.

  • Tennis elbow (epicondylitis)

    • Tennis elbow is common in adults who play golf or tennis. Constant use of the elbow during exercise can result in tiny tears in the elbow ligaments.

    • You can alleviate the painful symptoms of tennis elbow by taking a break from playing and giving your elbows time to rest and heal.

Safety measures to prevent an injury

Though many sports injuries are beyond an athlete’s control, certain health precautions can reduce your risk. It’s common for athletes to experience injuries when they exercise too vigorously and aren’t physically conditioned for the amount of activity they’re attempting. You should always build up your exercise plan gradually and not hit the gym too hard your first time back if you haven’t worked out in a while. Though you may wish otherwise, you can’t become a marathon runner overnight; intense exercise requires a great deal of training.

It’s also important to stretch and warm up your muscles prior to training to prevent injury. In addition, all athletes have physical limits and it’s important to be able recognize yours and let your body rest if you feel fatigued.

Injuries come with a PRICE

The most effective way to treat sports injuries is the PRICE method:

  • P stands for protect: To prevent further damage, always protect your injury with a cast, pad or crutch.

  • R stands for rest: Always give your body sufficient rest after suffering a sports injury to let it heal. It’s likely that the injury was caused by placing too much stress on your body.

  • I stands for ice: Apply ice to injuries to reduce swelling and alleviate pain.

  • C stands for compress: Compression with an elastic bandage will reduce swelling and protect it from further damage.

  • E stands for elevate: Elevate your injury to reduce swelling. It’s best to lie down to elevate your injury above your heart.

For more information on injury treatment, visit Velocity Care’s Health Care Services page. If you’re suffering from a sports-related injury and wish to consult a physician, visit our website to find a Velocity Care clinic near you.

 

Medical disclaimer

This site offers medical, health, fitness and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. General information found on this website is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your health care professional.

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