Sports are a fun and exciting way of getting out and exercising. Whether you're a seasoned athlete or only play on occasion, injury can happen to anyone. Improper form, accident, or strain can cause a wide variety of injuries that can vary in severity. These injuries can keep people from having fun and getting that heart-pounding exercise they crave.
While many sports injuries may heal in a few days or weeks, it is important to know when to go to a doctor. If an injury is extremely painful or does not heal with rest and time, then it is probably best to check in with a physician. Luckily, many of these injuries are preventable. With a measure of extra care and understanding, keep these injuries at bay and enjoy some fun in the sun! Here are some of the most common sports injuries and how to prevent them.
Spraining an ankle can happen in almost any setting. However, this is also very common in sports. A sprained ankle occurs when the ankle is rolled or twisted. Those who play sports such as soccer, basketball, football, or other sports that involve quick changes in direction are at a higher risk of this injury. A sprained ankle is the result of injury to the ligaments. When the ankle rolls or twists, the ligaments that connect the bones can stretch or even tear. This is problematic since ligaments are designed to limit or support the movement. The best way to prevent a sprain is simply being careful. Individuals who have not played sports in a while should not over-exert themselves. Stretching is also very important and can help prevent a sprain as well.
A groin pull, also known as groin strain, is an injury to the muscles in the groin. These muscles are frequently engaged in lateral movement. Athletes in sports where one may move side to side frequently are at higher risk of a groin pull. These injuries are not usually serious and heal in a few days. However, they should be allowed to heal. People who disregard proper healing time can find a groin pull consistently being aggravated. Sudden movement can be one of the primary causes of pulling a groin muscle. Stretching and warming up before exercise can help prevent straining a muscle.
Ever gone running and later felt a sharp pain in your shins? This is what's called a shin splint. Shin splints occur most often in runners and dancers. Shin splints are known medically as medial tibial stress syndrome. With this injury, the tibia and surrounding muscles and tendons experience inflammation. This can be the result of a sudden increase in exercise intensity, improper shoes, or lack of arch support.
When increasing the intensity of a workout, do it gradually. This will greatly lessen the chance of shin splints. Individuals with rigid arches or flat arches should also wear arch supports. Worn down shoes should also be replaced, as they can also be a factor in developing shin splints.
The ACL is a major ligament that runs behind the knee. ACL injuries can be very serious and even require surgery. With this injury, the ligament is either stretched, partially torn, or torn completely. This can happen more often in sports that involve sudden stops, such as football or soccer. Full ACL tears require surgery to fix, but partial tears or stretched ligaments may be fine without surgery.
Women are also more likely to develop an ACL injury. Some scientists speculate that this may be due to their body shape. Women tend to have a smaller intercondylar notch, which is a groove at the bottom of the femur. This can put a strain on the ligament and result in injury. Women also tend to have wider hips and be more prone to inward-turned knees, both of which also add strain to the knees and can lead to improper alignment.
Prevention is key for ACL injuries. Stretching and warming up is key. Building strength in the hips and thighs can also help support the knees, making them less prone to injury. Proper form for moving from side to side and jumping is another way to lessen injury. Sometimes however, there’s simply no way to prevent it. That’s part of what makes an ACL tear so devastating.