The world of athletic endeavor is a harsh and unforgiving place. It’s an arena where even the most gifted and experienced athletes can find themselves one misstep away from disaster. And it’s where those same athletes can come out on top in ways that we mere mortals can only dream about.
But let’s face it… for most of us, the world of athletic endeavor is a lot more like being on the sidelines, cheering our friends and family on from the bleachers. When we get injured, we don’t have a shoulder specialist or a whole team of trainers, physical therapists at our disposal; instead, we’re just left with a bottle of ibuprofen, some ice, and maybe—just maybe—a copy of WebMD.
Well, you’re in luck. In this post, we’ll be sharing how to treat five common sports injuries so that you can get back to being your best self ASAP!
Runner’s knee can be caused by a number of things, but it most commonly occurs when your patella (kneecap) is out of alignment with the rest of your leg.
When this happens, the kneecap will rub against the part of your femur that it’s supposed to slide across as you bend and straighten your leg—which causes a lot of pain.
The way to combat this is to stretch and strengthen the muscles around your kneecap: The front, back, and sides. These stretches and exercises should help overcome any tightness around the knee joint, which could be contributing to your kneecap being misaligned in the first place.
It’s also worth noting that changing shoes or increasing running mileage are common culprits for runner’s knees, so make sure you’re not doing too much too soon if you’re just getting into running.
Your shoulder is a complex joint made up of several bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. The main bones of your shoulder are the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone). Your shoulder also has many muscles and tendons that connect these bones to help control its movement. The joints between these bones provide a lot of flexibility in your upper body, allowing you to reach, wave or throw a ball with ease. However, because of this flexibility, there are often injuries to the muscles and ligaments around the joint that can be painful and limit movement.
Here are some tips for preventing injury to your shoulders:
1. Proper warmup exercises
3. Build muscle strength
Achilles tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendon that attaches your calf muscle to your heel bone. You may feel the pain when walking, especially uphill. It can also hurt when you push off on your toes. The pain usually goes away during rest and then comes back after exercise.
Overuse of a sudden increase in activity can cause Achilles tendinitis. Common causes include long-distance running, dancing en pointe, and hill-climbing while hiking. People who play sports that involve sudden stops and starts — like tennis or basketball — also may be more likely to get it.
If you have Achilles tendinitis, you might feel pain and stiffness in the back of your heel, especially in the morning or after sitting for a while. Your heel may hurt when walking, especially uphill or on soft surfaces such as grassy fields. And it may be tender to touch along the back of your heel and even up the back of your leg to your calf muscle, according to Stanford Children’s Health.
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that occurs when your head gets hit, causing the brain to bounce inside the skull. Concussions can take place as a result of car accidents, falls, or sports injuries. A concussion has many symptoms, including confusion, dizziness, and sensitivity to light. If you suspect you have a concussion, it’s important not to fall asleep. Additionally, you should seek medical attention and avoid activities that could result in your head getting hit again.
To prevent a concussion from occurring during athletic activity:
1. Wear appropriate protective gear such as helmets and mouth guards at all times while playing sports or engaging in outdoor activity
2. Practice good technique while playing sports and engage in physical conditioning programs with an emphasis on core strength, balance, and agility
An ankle sprain is the most likely injury if your ankle is swollen and painful after a sports-related fall or mishap. In this case, resting, icing, compressing, and elevating the area is the best course of action. Many people also find non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to be helpful in managing the pain and swelling that comes with sprained ankles.
If you suspect a severe ankle sprain—or anything more than a minor ACL tear—be sure to seek medical attention immediately.
Knowing How to Deal with Minor Injuries Properly Can Save You Time and Pain
What you want to avoid is treating an injury or pain that you don’t fully understand, as this can lead to more damage down the road. This means knowing how and when to call a doctor, how long your body needs to completely rest and heal, what works for your body (whether ice or heat), and more.
Then there’s icing an injury. It goes without saying that if you’re injured, you should be icing it regularly. But did you know that ice can cause tissue damage in the form of frostbite if not used properly? If using ice on an injury continuously for longer than 20 minutes at a time, use something protective like a towel or sock between the ice pack and your skin so that you don’t get burnt. Also, be sure to take the pack off every 15-20 minutes so the blood can start flowing again and allow oxygen into the area. Finally, alternate with heat for maximum benefit on certain types of injuries: alternating between hot and cold causes circulation through vasodilation (dilation of blood vessels).