Professional athletes and rec league regulars alike can suffer injuries when playing the sport they love. While the level of competition can take varying tolls on the body, similar movements from both pros and Joes on the playing field/court/ice can result in damage to muscles, joints, and bones. In this post, we provide a very brief primer on some of the most common sports injuries and how they’re treated.
Plantar fasciitis can affect athletes of any level and in any sport, because it comes about from repeated bouts of stress on the feet. When the tendon that runs along the arch of the foot gets strained, it can cause pain ranging from dull to sharp with every step.
Treating plantar fasciitis takes time. One common recommendation to try at home is to roll the arch of your foot over a frozen water bottle or rolling pin to loosen the strained tendon. It may also help to wear a splint and to stretch the Achilles.
A common malady of basketball and soccer players, sprained ankles typically occur when the foot rolls inward, causing the ligaments on the outside of the ankle to stretch or tear.
Sprained ankles are often treated using RICE. Not the grain, but the process of rest, ice, compression, and elevation. The RICE method aims primarily to reduce pain and reduce swelling. Once the pain and swelling has subsided, balancing exercises and riding a stationary bike can help heal the sprain. These components of recovery are best if guided by a professional.
ACL strain or tear
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) runs behind the knee and holds the bones above and below the knee. ACL strains or tears occur as a result of “cuts” – sudden changes in an athlete’s direction or speed. A torn ACL will often require surgery, and hamstring-strengthening exercises will help in the rehabilitation of both tears and strains. Again, something best left to the guidance of a professional.
Any sport that puts a great amount of stress on the legs poses the risk of hamstring strains (often referred to as pulls). Activities involving running, jumping, and kicking create the highest amount of these injuries.
Following a hamstring pull, it’s important to do exercises that rebuild muscle, which will help ward off the chance you’ll reinjure yourself. Isometric exercises that cause the muscles to contract while the joints remain stable are often a good starting point. Proper recovery from a hamstring injury often requires the guidance of a professional to ensure a safe progression of strengthening exercises.
Low back pain
Just about any active individual has encountered low back pain at some point or another. Many injuries to the lower back occur from poor form when lifting weights or performing other exercises, but even simple movements in your sport of choice can trigger pain.
Giving your back time to rest and keeping it stable are vital to recovery, and exercises that focus on the glutes, hamstrings, and core can help strengthen the back.
Despite its name, you don’t need to play tennis to develop tennis elbow; it can be the result of any overuse of the muscles in the arm, forearm, or hand. You’ll feel tennis elbow in the area around the outside of the elbow. When treating tennis elbow, it’s important to give the muscles and tendons time to rest and heal on their own. There are quite a few different clinical treatment approaches that are very effective in treating tennis elbow.
Runners, in particular those who run on paved roads, are prone to develop shin splints, which often causes pain down the front of the lower legs. Again, the RICE method may be beneficial in helping shin splints. This is a condition that mimics a stress fracture, so accurate diagnosis from a trained professional is very important.
If an injury is keeping you away from the sport you love, give us a call and we’ll work with you to get you game-ready again.