Whether you play sports professionally or for fun, everyone is at risk of developing an injury. It’s important to educate yourself about some of the most common sports injuries so you can detect if something is wrong while you are on the field. The earlier you receive medical attention, the more likely you will make a full recovery. Learn about some of the most common sports injuries and the best way to recover from them below.
About 55% of sports injuries occur in the knee. Knee injuries commonly occur when your kneecap repeatedly grinds against your leg bone. This type of movement damages your kneecap’s tissues and causes you pain. Sports that require overhead movement, such as tennis, swimming, baseball, basketball, and volleyball, are more commonly associated with this type of injury. Knee injuries should be taken seriously; without proper rest and healing, you could sideline yourself permanently.
Your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is responsible for connecting your thigh to your shinbone at your knee. Sudden movements like stopping and changing directions and landing with a hard impact can strain or tear your ACL. This injury can be serious and requires immediate medical treatment. Common symptoms of an ACL tear include a popping or cracking noise, intense pain, and swelling.
Tennis elbow is when tendons in your elbow degenerate, due to repeated backhand strokes in tennis. On the other hand, golf elbow is caused by the inflammation of your epicondyle, usually affecting the inside of your elbow. These conditions typically occur in athletes who are between 30 and 60 years old. The best way to treat tennis or golf elbow is to initially rest the injury. Ice and anti-inflammatory medication may also help speed up your healing process. Oftentimes, there are underlying mechanical issues due to weakness and tightness in other areas of the arm/neck and upper back that are causing undue stress on the elbow which a physical therapist can evaluate and prescribe exercises to help correct the issue and prevent long term problems.
If you are experiencing shooting pain down the front of your leg, you may be suffering from shin splints. They are sometimes the result of a stress fracture in your bone. This injury is commonly seen in runners and people who have increased their exercise intensity too quickly. Minor shin splints can be healed with ice, rest, stretching, and proper shoes. It’s important to have a more painful shin splint seen by a Physical Therapist to make sure it is not a stress fracture.
The muscles in your inner thigh, or groin, are used to help pull your legs together. A groin pull injury typically occurs when you suddenly change directions. Athletes who participate in hockey, soccer, basketball and football are more likely to suffer from this kind of injury. Symptoms of a groin pull include sharp pain, swelling, and bruising on the inside of the thigh.
Sciatica refers to the pain anywhere on the sciatic nerve’s path. This nerve branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. This injury can be caused by improper stretching and is more likely to occur in athletes who participate in cycling, running, golf, and tennis. Sciatica typically only affects one side of your body. Back spasms can be treated with rest and anti-inflammatory medication, while sciatica and bulging disks need immediate medical attention and can also be treated by visiting a Physical Therapist.
Your hamstring is made up of three muscles and is located behind your knee. A hamstring is commonly pulled when you overuse or overstretch your muscles. This type of injury can be avoided by not overworking your body. Because walking causes a lot of stress on an injured hamstring, it can take a long time to heal. Many athletes are at risk of injuring their hamstring because running is one of the main causes. Some common symptoms include pain and bruising.
No matter if you’re injured and in need of physical therapy or you are looking for a relaxing place to recover from a tough workout, IMPACT Physical Therapy offers the most progressive treatments and the best care in the Chicago area. For more information on how we can enhance your physical performance, be sure to request a complimentary screening with us today.