Each year more and more people engage in sports and recreational activities in order to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, as the number of people biking, hiking, and playing sports increases, so do the injuries.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, in 2016, more than eight million people had a sports related injury. Since more men play contact sports, twice as many men as women had sports related injuries.
Another concerning statistic: children between the ages of five and 14 account for nearly 40% of all sports related injuries.
It’s time to learn how to keep yourself, and those you care about, safe in the sports arena.
These are the most common sport injuries that we see on a day-to-day basis at Back In Motion Sport & Spine Physical Therapy.
The 9 Most Common Sports Injuries
Strains, sprains, pulled hamstrings, concussions, knees (ACL, and patella femoral), head injuries, bone fractures, bruises, and spinal cord injuries are the most usual sport injuries the medical professionals see on a daily basis.
As one might suspect, the sports causing the most injuries in high school athletes are football and basketball…with basketball, surprisingly, showing more injuries than football.
Common Types of injuries
Jumper’s knee: This is caused by inflammation or injury to the tissue connecting the kneecap and thigh muscles. It’s usually the result of overuse or repetitive movements.
People who engage in activities or sports involving lots of jumping, such as volleyball and basketball, are most prone to knee injury. Jumper’s knee is characterized by severe knee pain, stiffness or weakness in the affected area, especially when jumping or climbing stairs.
Little league elbow: Linked to the overuse of joints, tissues or muscles, it affects the growth plate of the elbow and is common among baseball players.
Runner’s knee: Another repetitive motion injury, runner’s knee is common in people who run, walk, or bike a lot. Any activity requiring repetitive knee bending puts a person at risk for runner’s knee.
People with Runner’s knee feel pain in the kneecap while bending. They may also feel a grinding sensation and swelling. Another common injury most runners may experience is IT Band Syndrome. This is irritation to the outside part of the thigh.
Sprains: Usually caused by a fall or twist, sprains occur where there is a stretch or ligament tear near the joint. Symptoms include pain and swelling at the affected areas.
Strains: This is a muscular injury which occurs when there is a stretch of the muscle tissue mostly through overextension. Symptoms include sudden pain which is followed by limitation of the movement of the affected areas; in some cases, bruises and swelling may be seen. Many athletes will usually strain their hamstring, groin, or calf muscles.
Tennis elbow: A painful condition which comes as a result of overuse of the elbow. Tennis and golf players are more prone to this injury because of the repetitive motions of the elbow. One feels the pain at the outside part of the elbow. Pain is caused by inflammation. Weakness occurs when trying to grip an object.
The 6 Major Causes of Sports Injuries Overtraining
Although training is an important component of any athlete’s success, it is essential that an athlete not overtrain. Why? Because overtraining puts excessive pressure on the body. So while training is important for enhanced performance, over training reduces performance.
The two most common causes of overtraining are:1. increased intensity and 2. failure to give oneself enough time to recover.
Fatigue, loss of concentration, problems sleeping, disruption in normal rhythm and an increase in resting heart rate are all signs of overtraining.
Overtraining decrease performance, strength and endurance. It may also increase irritability and emotional distress.
To prevent overtraining by reduce the intensity and duration of training sessions. Gradually reducing training gives the body time to cope with training changes.
You can avoid overtraining by increasing the range of activities to condition the whole body. Conditioning the entire body, reduces the risk of overuse.
Resting is also a good method for healing injuries caused by overtraining. Resting helps your body prepare for the next session of activities. Plus resting keeps you mentality alert and ready to move. Therefore, getting adequate sleep and limiting your training sessions will help you from over training.
As you’ve seen in the “types of injuries” section, one major cause of sports injury is the repetitive action using only some parts of the body. Unfortunately, overuse injuries worsen over time. You may recognize them as golfer’s knee, thrower’s shoulder, and tennis elbow. The symptom experienced is gradual pain, which intensifies both during and after the activity. Swelling and bruising of the affected areas may also occur.
A person can ease symptoms through the use of pain relieving medications, resting, and the application of ice to the affected area. In some cases, persistence of symptoms may require the athlete to undergo surgery to speed recovery. But be aware…surgery may also increase the possibility of suffering similar injury in the future.
To prevent overuse, allow adequate rest periods between training sessions. Resting gives the body time to adjust and prepare for the next bout of activity.
Poor Preparations and/or Lack of Warm Up
Poor preparation for exercising or training puts athletes at risk of an injury.
Muscles and joints are stressed when not prepared. Unprepared muscles increases the risks of sprains, strains and tears of muscles and ligaments. A warm-up exercise helps us to increase temperature as well as the blood circulation in the needed areas.
Ideally, have fifteen to twenty minutes of warm-up before starting training or exercises. Preparing to exercise should include a combination of activities, such as stretches and cardio exercises. A few minutes of jogging, followed by stretching or lifting some light weights helps warm the muscles. An effective preparation readies us, helping to increase performance levels…and also to prevents injuries.