Common Sports Injuries and Sports Medicine
Written By: Patrick Frank
Sports are a healthy, fun pastime and captivating form of entertainment, helping people aspire to greater fitness and come together in pursuit of a common goal. However, since they often require rigorous training, intense exercise, heightened flexibility, and bodily strain, athletic activities carry the risk of injury.
Overexerting yourself to throw the javelin farther, kick the soccer ball into a faraway goal, or slam a tennis ball into your opponent’s court could harm or even seriously impair your body. Sports medicine practitioners help patients maintain their health and treat athletic injuries so they can keep playing. Orthopedics, doctors who diagnose and treat Musculoskeletal Conditions, often specialize in sports medicine because athletes regularly harm their muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, or related tissues. Sports medicine also incorporates elements of preventive medicine and nutritional science, helping patients preserve their fitness and wellbeing to perform well on the field or court.
Common Sports Injuries
Since sports often require repeated movements, putting pressure on the same joints and bones each time, certain conditions are more common than others. Some of the most frequently reported sports-related injuries include:
Plantar fasciitis: The tissue that runs from your heel to your toes is called “fascia.” If it becomes damaged or stretched, the bottom of your foot may experience sharp pains and swelling.
Hamstring pull: Excessive jumping or running can overextend the muscles along the back of your thigh.
Achilles tendinitis: The “Achilles” muscles adjoining your calf with your heel can become swollen and uncomfortable, most often in runners.
Concussion: A traumatic injury to your head can damage the protective gel and fluid coating your brain, temporarily impairing your cognitive function and causing fatigue. This is particularly common in high-impact contact sports such as football or rugby. If left untreated, concussions can be fatal, so it is important to see a sports medicine specialist as soon as possible if you experience a blow to the head during athletic activity.
Ankle sprain: Stretching or rupturing your ankle ligaments can be uncomfortable and impair your mobility. This injury can occur during any sport that requires repetitive foot movements.
Shoulder injury: Any sport that involves throwing or hitting, such as tennis or baseball, can cause shoulder injuries such as inflamed joints or torn ligaments. The rotator cuff tendons of the shoulder are particularly prone to sports-related damage.
Quadriceps strain: If the quadriceps muscles in the outer thigh become overworked, stretched, or torn, usually due to repeated squatting or lunging motions, they can interfere with your ability to walk and stand properly.
Hip bursitis: The hip’s “bursa” are fluid-filled membranes that pad the joints. Biking, running, or standing for long periods can cause them to swell.
Epicondylitis: Also called “tennis elbow” for the sport that most frequently causes it, this is a swollen outer elbow joint.
Lower back pain: Running, bending over, and twisting can put undue pressure on your lower back vertebrae, muscles, and ligaments, harming them. Many athletes believe aching in the lower back is a normal part of exercise, but it is actually a symptom of what could be a serious injury such as a spinal fracture. If you experience chronic back pain, especially after playing or training for sports, contact your doctor for an assessment. Stretching before you exercise can help strengthen and stretch your lower back muscles to reduce your risk.
Shin splints: These are sharp pains that result from running. They can be caused by an improper foot arch, weak hip or abdominal muscles, swollen shin muscles, or even stress fractures, small cracks in the leg bones.
Torn ACL (knee): The anterior cruciate ligament, or “ACL,” helps your knee move properly. Overuse or rapid twists can damage or tear the ACL, limiting your leg movement. This injury can take up to nine months to heal.
Palletofemoral syndrome: Repeated impact or strain can begin to dissolve or fragment the knee cap’s cartilage, making bending down very uncomfortable and causing an unsettling cracking noise when using the knee.
Groin pull: Jumping, sprinting, and sudden movements can injure the muscles that connect your pelvis to your upper thighs, causing a groin pull. You may hear a crackling sound as you strain these muscles and then feel a prolonged aching when you attempt to use your thighs, especially when lifting or closing them.
Sports medicine specialists and orthopedists specializing in sports injuries can help diagnose and treat any of the above conditions to allow for freer movement and alleviate your symptoms.
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