If you ask most Americans about sports, chances are they will have an animated reaction. Whether they are their child’s No. 1 fan during baseball season, or they are constantly reminiscing about their first time at the Super Bowl, one thing is abundantly clear: our country is a nation of fans.
While that spirit can offer camaraderie and excitement, the dark underbelly of team athletics is the high susceptibility to injury. Every year, more than 3.5 million youth under the age of 14 receive medical care for musculoskeletal sports injuries. The Majors aren’t forgiving, either. Being a professional athlete is one of the most dangerous occupations, with more than 2,000 injuries for every 10,000 players – whether due to overexertion, improper technique, or lack of conditioning.
But don’t let the fear of injuries deter you from getting in the game; exercise is vital to general health and well-being. However, you’ll want to stay abreast of how to prevent common sports blunders and treat them properly should they occur.
Common Musculoskeletal Sports Injuries
There are two main types of sports injuries: acute and chronic. The former occurs suddenly, and the latter develops over time from wear and tear. Weekend warriors – those among us who spend their days toiling in a boardroom and weekends making their way to the end of a 10K – should include “pre-participation” training as part of their workout routine. The body needs adequate time to adjust to intense levels of exercise.
Listen to your body; it’ll tell you when you’ve hit your limit. Sprains are one of the most common sports injuries, and they occur when a ligament is stretched beyond its boundaries or torn. Acute traumatic knee injury and ankle sprains account for most acute injuries. Sports such as soccer, football, tennis, volleyball, and basketball that require swift cutting and pivoting movements put athletes at greater risk for this musculoskeletal malady. If you experience a sprain, you’ll want to seek the advice of a medical expert and physical therapist about exercises that will keep you limber and build strength while you heal. Strains, while they sound similar, are a stretching or tearing of the muscle.
A shooting pain that runs along the front of the lower leg, shin splints are a feeling that most avid runners have felt at some point during their lives. They can be triggered by a variety of factors, but usually, have something to do with revving up the intensity or duration of one’s runs or running on uneven or hard turf. It’s important to know when to “bench” yourself; if left untreated or unresolved, these injuries can lead to fracture.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are a widespread injury, and one of the most serious. Occurring frequently in contact sports such as basketball, football, and soccer, ACL tears can occur in the aftermath of rough tumbles or collisions, from landing incorrectly after a jump or stopping or changing direction rapidly.
If you’ve sustained one of the abovementioned injuries, practice the RICE method as soon as possible; rest, ice, compression, and elevation are sometimes enough to heal these conditions. Whether medical attention is needed will depend on your receptiveness to at-home treatments, the severity of your injury, and your overall activity level.
Rockville Concierge Doctors includes a team of highly trained medical professionals who will refer you to an orthopedic specialist if necessary. Their facility also offers on-site physical therapy services by experts in the field of sports medicine. Pain doesn’t have to keep you on the sidelines; see what personalized primary care can do for you. For more information, call (301) 545-1811.