Whether you are playing sports at a highly competitive level, or for the occasional workout—one of the biggest components of participating in athletics is injury prevention. However, no mater how careful you are, sports injuries can happen. Here’s what to know about sports injury treatment and prevention.
What Causes Sports Injuries?
There are so many different situations that can cause sports injuries, which is perhaps why they are so common. Sports-related injuries can come from both contact and non-contact sports and can range greatly in terms of severity.
Here are some of the most common causes of sports injuries:
– Accidents. Accidents can happen in any sport, even non-contact sports. Accidents typically include falls, or heavy blows. This can be tripping while running, dropping a weight on a toe or anything in between. There’s nothing you can do to prevent accidents typically, it’s just part of playing the game.
– Not warming up properly. This is one type of sports injury that can be prevented. All you need to do is make sure that you stretch, do some light cardio to get your muscles warm and prevent pulling or other injuries. You should always do warm ups before any type of sport to get those muscles warm.
– Using inappropriate equipment. Another preventable injury is using the wrong equipment. This can be anything from the wrong size shin guards, to ill-fitting pads or the wrong footwear. Before you play any sport, always make sure you have the right equipment and that equipment fits.
– Using poor technique. Before you play any type of sport in any competitive manner, you need to know how to do it properly. No one is going to be a pro on heir first time playing a new sport, but you should always take lessons on proper safety and form before you start playing a new sport to prevent injury.
– Pushing yourself too hard. There are many of us who have that hyper-competitive side and who work to push themselves as hard as possible when they play sports. However, no one knows your body better than you, which means there is such a thing as pushing yourself too hard. This can cause injury such as muscle strains or sprains.
– Being out of shape. This goes hand-in-hand with pushing yourself too hard. If you are out of shape, then you may be setting yourself up for issues with hurting yourself. So if you are planning on playing sports, you should also plan on making sure you are staying in shape to handle the physical demands of that sport.
The best thing you can do when playing sports is to try your best to prevent these potential injuries from happening.
What Are the Most Common Sports Injuries?
Knowing the causes of sports injuries is so important to preventing injury issues—but you also need to understand what the most common sports injuries are, so you know what to look out for.
– Broken bones. A broken bone, or a bone fracture, can happen when sudden force is applied to the bone causing it to break, fracture or splinter. Broken bones need to be diagnosed with an x-ray and treated under the care of a medical professional.
– Cartilage tears. Your cartilage is a tough but flexible shock absorber that covers and protects the ends of certain bones in the body. Your cartilage is important particularly in joints like the knee and shoulder, but it can also be damaged while playing sports. If you sustain an injury to these major joints, you should see a doctor for further examination.
– Concussion. This is a serious injury that tends to occur in contact sports. While it is commonly associated with football, it can happen in a variety of sports. A concussion is a brain injury caused by a blow to the head and requires an immediate trip to the hospital.
– Dislocation. When the end of the bone moves out of its normal position in a joint, it is known as dislocation. While knees are some of the most common joints to be dislocated, this type of injury is also common in other joints and is particularly common in the fingers with any sport that involves catching a ball, such as basketball or football.
– Tendinitis. This type of sports injury occurs when he tissues that connect muscles to bones, also known as tendons, become inflamed and swollen. This is an injury that comes with repetitive movement over time and isn’t the same type of injury that comes from an accident.
– Sprains. This is one of the most common types of sports injuries, and occurs when ligaments stretch too much or tear completely. These ligaments are important because they stabilize joints. Sprains can vary in terms of severity and while the ankle is the most common joint people think of when they think of sprains—they can happen at virtually any of the joints.
– Strains. Sometimes strains and sprains can be confused, but they are two very different sports injuries. These injuries occur when you overextend a muscle so much that it stretches or even tears. There are many different types of sports injury strains, but hamstring strains are some of the most common sports-related injuries.
What to Do If You Have an Injury?
Sports injuries are no laughing matter. And while they tend to happen quite frequently, they should be taken seriously. Here’s what to do if you feel as though you have a sports injury.
Typically, when you have a sports injury, you notice immediate pain, tenderness, swelling, bruising or restricted movement. You may also feel stiffness in the impacted area. If you feel this immediate pain or discomfort, you should stop exercising or playing your sport right away. This is true whether your injury is new or if you’re dealing with a recurring injury.
If you continue to exercise or push through a sports injury, it can cause more damage to your existing injury or slow down your recovery process. Once you are injured you should ice right away for pain and assess the severity of the injury. If it is a minor injury, you can rest at home, you only need to see a doctor for more severe injuries.
Treating a Sports Injury
Most common sports injuries can be treated by yourself at home. Here’s the most common way to treat these injuries on your own:
– Rest the impact part of the body for 48 to 72 hours to prevent further injury or damage.
– Apply an ice pack to the impacted area for the first 48 to 72 hours to reduce swelling
– Use over-the-county painkillers such as ibuprofen to relieve pain
– Apply a compress wrap and consider elevating the impacted area if possible to help with swelling and further damage
No one knows your body as well as you do, so monitor your symptoms, manage them and be ready to see a doctor if you feel as though things are improving in the way you want.
Preventing Sports Injuries
Treating sports injuries is one thing, but the best thing you can do is to reduce your risk of getting injured. Here’s what you can do to lessen your chances of sustaining sports injuries:
– Warm up properly before you exercise with dynamic movement and stretching.
– Do not push your body beyond your current fitness level. Listen to your body and what it says and stop when your body is telling you to stop.
– Use the right equipment, including the right running shoes, pads and protective equipment.
– Learn proper techniques from coaches and experts to make sure you are participating in the sport safely.
– Take breaks as needed and stay hydrated. If you are feeling pain in certain areas, stop playing and apply ice, ointments and other treatments to keep pain at bay.
With this information and insight in mind, it’s important to keep an eye on your sports injuries if and when they occur. Doing your best to prevent injuries from happening and managing them when they do will help you stay healthy and pain-free during all of your sports adventures.