Strains, sprains, and joint injuries dominate the field when it comes to sports injuries, and numerous hospitals across the US have specialized units to deal with injuries like these. While some sports injuries can be easily and quickly treated, others can be complicated.
The talented professionals at MidJersey Orthopaedics regularly treat patients. For any medical issue, prevention is ideal, and we have several tips to help you stay comfortable and happy as you enjoy playing sports.
What are common sports injuries?
Sports injuries typically happen while playing sports, though many injuries labeled ‘sports injuries’ could also result from car accidents, altercations, time spent at the gym, or occur at the workplace. The injuries to which an athlete is vulnerable can depend on the sport itself, with football players far more likely to experience concussions than tennis players, for example.
The most common sports injuries are sprains and strains. Sprains result from overstretched or torn ligaments, the fibrous tissue that connects bones to other bones. Strains result from overstretched or torn muscles or tendons, which connect muscle to bone.
Knee injuries are the most common joint injury for both athletes and non-athletes. Though these injuries typically involve strains and sprains, without the stability provided by these ligaments and tendons, your ability to walk without pain is deeply compromised.
Injuries to the Achilles Tendon are extremely painful. Whether this tendon has ruptured or breaks, you can’t miss the sensation and are unlikely to be able to walk at all. Bone fractures and dislocated joints are also common sports injuries; fractures will need weeks, possibly longer, to fully heal.
While the number of common and less-common sports injuries continues, know that there are risk factors for sports injuries, besides the fact that they primarily affect athletes. People at elevated risk of experiencing sports injuries include people who aren’t active and people who fail to warm up properly before physical activity. People who play contact sports are also more likely to sustain sports injuries.
What should I do if I’m injured?
If you’re hurt during a game, a shift at work, or after an accident, stop what you’re doing, and get to a place where you can sit down. The RICE method is the most often used emergency treatment for most types of sports injuries. ‘RICE’ is an acronym for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
When you’re sitting, relax the injured area. This may be difficult if you’re in pain, but you may find that the pain begins to subside with rest. Icing your injury soothes the area and reduces some of the inflammation that causes pain. Lastly, elevating the injured area above your head also reduces inflammation and keeps blood flowing to your head, lowering your risk of fainting.
Whatever the intensity of your injury, treating it as close to immediately as possible is essential to a full recovery. If the pain from your injury persists or worsens, over the next two days, your injury may be more serious than you realize. If you’re still struggling with pain in the days after your injury, contact your provider.
How can I prevent a sports injury?
Sports injuries don’t have to be inevitable, and we’re pleased to share the best ways to protect yourself from experiencing sports injuries.
Warming up is an under-appreciated method for preventing sports injuries. Some athletes spend twenty minutes on their warm-up routine, while others may spend closer to 30 or even 45 minutes. Choose a warm-up that includes plenty of progressively deeper stretching, eventually adding movements that elevate your heart rate, followed by movements specific to the sport you’re playing.
Using proper protective gear, including supportive shoes, helps keep you safe while you’re in motion. Use them consistently if your sport normally uses padding, helmets, or gloves. Even if you don’t think you need them, you’re safer with them than without them.
Even with the equipment and proper warm-up, you are still at risk for injury. None of your precautions will matter if you don’t pay attention to your body or take it seriously if you’re feeling pain.
My shoulder pain won’t quit.
We’re sorry to hear you’re in pain. We’re happy to help. Our providers understand how a sports injury affects your everyday life and the steps to proper healing. If you’ve experienced a sports injury, a workplace injury, or been hurt in an accident, schedule a consultation at MidJersey Orthopaedics in Flemington, Bridgewater, or Washington, New Jersey today.