We are currently in a season of sport with the World Cup and Wimbledon and during the summer many of us take up more outdoor activities. Whatever the sport or exercise you always run the risk of some sort of injury. Repeated wear and tear on your body eventually adds up, leading to excessive stress on the muscles and joints that lead to injury.
Jane Morris explains common sports injuries can be divided into two categories.
1. Overuse injuries which occur over time due to stress on the muscles, joints and soft tissues without proper time for healing. They begin as a small, nagging ache or pain, and can grow into a debilitating injury if they are not treated early.
Examples of these are Achilles tendon problems (Tendinopathy) – common in many sports. Tennis elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis) commonly seen in tennis and other racket sports often developing through poor technique. Problems with the shoulder tendons (Shoulder impingement syndromes) – often seen in racket sports, rugby and cricket. Iliotibial band syndrome often seen in runners.
Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of pain on the bottom of the heel and is frequently seen in runners and also those playing racket sports, volley ball and basketball. Plantar fasciitis is believed to develop through poor foot and lower leg mechanics and wrong fitting trainers or footwear. Knee injuries such as Patellofemoral syndrome meaning irritation on the underside of the kneecap. It is often caused by overuse, poor alignment of the knee joint, or muscle imbalance leading to friction and rubbing under the kneecap and can create damage to the surface of the cartilage.
2. There are also the Acute or traumatic injuries which occur due to a sudden force, or impact, and can be quite dramatic. The more common traumatic injuries include Torn rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder, often seen in racket and overhead throwing sports where the shoulder muscles are subject to extreme force. Wrist sprains commonly seen in racket sports. Acute ankle sprains can be seen in a range of sports from running, football tennis etc. Similarly Achilles tendon rupture, hamstring strains and tears is often seen in sports where there are sudden and explosive movements seen with sprinters, tennis player’s football etc.
Knee Injuries are common place in football and rugby such as cruciate injuries are common in sports that require stopping and starting or quickly changing directions. These extreme forces on the knee can result in torn ligaments. Torn Knee Cartilage (meniscal tears), these small pieces of cartilage which act as cushions between the thigh bone and the shin bone often the tear as a result of twisting, pivoting, decelerating, or a sudden impact.
In general, listen to your body, and do your best to distinguish good pain (general fatigue) from the bad (jolting or dull pains, excessive fatigue). Struggling to do those last couple reps might seem like a good idea in the short term, but it could ruin your progress in the long run with a damaging and lingering injury. Many sports injuries result from overuse and poor technique, lack of proper rest, lack of proper warm ups or poor conditioning.
Some simple safety precautions are recommended to help prevent help injuries:
Warm up thoroughly prior to play.
Wear the right sportswear.
Use good technique and play by the rules, and if new to the sport seek professional advice to prevent bad habits forming.
Get adequate recovery and warm down stretches.
If you do develop and injury - don’t leave that injury to become more chronic and deep seated. Seek advice, not only to relieve those symptoms but also to get advice on how to prevent it happening on the future.
At the Centre for Complementary Health we have a number of practitioners who are experienced in dealing with a wide range of sporting injuries and are involved in a range of sports themselves, so therefore understand what it means to have an injury in your chosen sport.