5 Common Sports Injuries and How to Treat Them
Sports injuries are not uncommon, and they can happen to anyone. In fact, 3.5 million children and teens experienced some form of injury every year. When you think of sports injuries, you probably think of torn ligaments or broken bones. But did you know that muscle strains and sprains are the most common sports injuries?
The good news is these types of injuries are treatable with some time off from your sport and proper treatment. This article will review some of the most common sports injuries and how to treat them.
What are the 5 Most Common Sports Injuries?
According to the American Journal of Sports Medicine, roughly 80% of all injuries that occur during athletic activity are due to overuse. While this can be difficult for athletes and coaches to avoid, Breakthru can help you find ways to manage your risk of injury and get back in the game faster than ever.
The five most common sports injuries are:
- Torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) – The ACL is one of four major ligaments in the knee. It helps stabilize the knee joint by connecting two bones in the thigh (femur) and shin (tibia). A torn ACL is considered a moderate-to-severe injury that requires surgery and physical therapy.
- Stress fracture – Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bone caused by repetitive stress on a particular area of bone. This can happen when an athlete has not built enough muscle strength or warmed up properly before exercising. It’s important to see a doctor immediately if you suspect you have a stress fracture because complications can include permanent damage if left untreated.
- Rotator cuff injury – The rotator cuff comprises four small muscles that stabilize your shoulder joint and keep it in place when you move your arm overhead or behind your back. It is most often caused by progressive wear and tear of the tendon tissue over time and repetitive overhead activity.
- Neck and Back Pain – This is a very common injury in sports, especially hockey. The most common cause of neck and back pain is muscle strain or spasms, which can be caused by overuse or poor technique. If you’re experiencing this type of pain, you should rest until the pain subsides and then do some gentle stretching exercises and strength training. If your pain continues to be a problem after two weeks of rest, you should immediately see a doctor.
- Ankle Sprains – Ankles are one of the most commonly injured areas for athletes because they support the rest of the body during physical activity. An ankle sprain occurs when ligaments around an ankle are stretched beyond their normal range of motion, causing them to tear or partially tear away from their original position. Ankle sprains can be extremely painful and will usually require at least six weeks of rest before athletes can return to full activities without risking further damage to their ankles.
How to Treat Sports Injuries
If you’ve ever been injured while playing sports, you know that getting back on the field is your top priority. That can be challenging, but don’t worry: there are plenty of ways to treat your injuries and get back in the game.
- First, take some time off from your sport. This will give your body time to heal and will help prevent further injury.
- Next, see a physical therapist if your injury is serious or if it persists for more than a few days. Your physical therapist can assess your injury and recommend treatment options that are best for you.
Until you are able to see your physical therapist, you can try these home remedies:
- Rest. This means not doing any activities that worsen the injury, such as exercise or heavy lifting. If possible, elevate the injured area above heart level when resting (for example, by propping up your leg on pillows).
- Ice it down. Ice packs are one of the most effective ways to reduce inflammation and pain caused by sprains or other swelling injuries. Apply ice packs directly onto the injured area as soon as possible after sustaining an injury (within 15 minutes), then every couple of hours thereafter.
- Compression. Applying pressure to the injured area may help reduce swelling. An elastic bandage, though not tightly wound around it, can be applied as needed.
- Elevation. You can help reduce swelling by elevating the injured ankle, knee, elbow or wrist above heart level.
Why is Physical Therapy Important for Sports Injuries?
Physical therapy is a form of treatment that helps individuals recover from injuries, whether they are sports-related or not. The goal of Breakthru Physical Therapy is to improve mobility and reduce pain, in addition to preventing future injuries. Physical therapists also help individuals who have undergone surgery to regain strength and range of motion.
When you have a sports injury, physical therapy increases blood flow and circulation to injured areas so that healing can occur more quickly than it would otherwise. It also helps improve your range of motion and flexibility to help you return to your normal activities more rapidly than if you did not receive this treatment.
How to Prevent Sports Injuries?
Sports injuries can be devastating, so it’s important to know how to prevent them. Here are some of the most common ways to prevent sports injuries:
- Warm up before you play. This will help you avoid injury by warming up your muscles and joints.
- Stretch after playing sports. This will help you avoid injury by stretching your muscles and loosening them up after they’ve been tightened during physical activity.
- Drink plenty of water during sports activities. This will help prevent dehydration and ensure your body can perform at its best during physical activity.
- Utilize the proper tools or clothing, and wear supportive shoes that may cure specific foot issues that can result in injuries.
When Should I See My Physical Therapist for Sports Injuries?
An athlete should see a physical therapist if he or she is experiencing pain, has undergone surgery, was injured during the course of his/her sport or training regimen—or was simply referred to one by your physician for any reason.
Physical therapy can address pain, swelling, decreased movement and difficulty walking as well as running. Common conditions include tendinitis, bursitis, sprains strains or post-operative care.
Why Choose Breakthru for Physical Therapy for Sports Injuries?
At Breakthru Physical Therapy, we offer a range of treatments for sports injuries. Our therapists have extensive training in evidence-based methods for treating such injuries, and they work with patients to develop personalized treatment plans based on their unique needs.
We understand that choosing a physical therapy program can be intimidating. We work with you to design an individualized plan to help you feel better, perform better, and live your best life!