Common Sports Injuries : Prevention & Treatment
Actively playing sports is a great way to get some exercise and stay in good shape. However, whether you are a regular sportsman or an casual sports enthusiast,
everybody runs the risk of the occasional sports injury from time to time. Sports injuries can be caused by a variety of reasons. Some people get hurt because they may not be in shape, while others may cause themselves damage by not following simple
precautions like stretching or warming up before an active sports session. Accidents or improper sports gear can also be a cause of many sports injuries.
On the occasion of National Sports Day (29th August, which marks the birthday of Dhyan Chand, one of best hockey players ever seen in India and the world), we will look at the 5 most common sports injuries and how to prevent them, or if you can’t avoid them, how to treat them…
A concussion is an injury to the brain caused by a blow to the head. It can cause disorientation, headaches, dizziness, loss of balance and nausea. In extreme cases, it can even cause amnesia, difficulty in breathing and loss of consciousness. Recovery from a concussion can take anywhere from a few hours to a few months, depending on the severity of the impact on the head.
While playing any type of sports, which may result in a head injury, it is important to ensure that the head and the neck is properly protected by a good impact-resistant helmet and neck and shoulder pads. It is very critical to visit a doctor and get a through medical check-up to eliminate any chances of severe internal head injuries. The key to recovering from a concussion is ensuring that you get a complete rest, physical as well as mental. Even simple activities like reading a book or watching television may need to be restricted while recovering from a concussion to avoid excessive strain on the brain. Return to any physical or mental activity should be gradual, once the symptoms of concussion have disappeared.
Achilles tendinitis is a common condition among runners or other athletes, and causes pain along the back of the leg near the heel. It affects the Achilles tendon, the largest tendon in the body, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone, and is used whenever one walks, runs or jumps. Achilles Tendinitis occurs when the tendon gets inflamed due to over-use or degeneration. Left untreated, the condition can become chronic and extremely painful.
The most simplest way to avoid injury to the Achilles Tendon is to strengthen the calf muscles through proper stretching exercises. A regiment of RICE (Rest — Ice — Compression and Elevation) is also one of the best treatments for Achilles Tendinitis. No sports activity or exercise regime affecting the heel or the calves should be taken up during the healing process to avoid aggravating the injury further.
Sprained ankles are a very common injury in sports like football, hockey, volleyball, which involve a lot of jumping and turning and twisting the ankle rapidly. It is caused when the foot turns inwards at a wrong angle, which in turn stretches or tears the relatively weaker
ligaments on the outside of the ankle.
Strengthening the ankles by exercising with ankle weights is a good way to protect yourself from ankle sprains and injuries. Taping up the ankle or wearing a brace can also be of some help, in preventing a sprained ankle, although there is no sure way to prevent it. A sprained ankle is best treated with moderate RICE treatment, as well as gentle movements of the
ankle to reduce swelling and get the circulation going.
Lower Back Pain
Runner, cyclists, tennis players, almost every sports has players who suffer from lower back pain. It can be caused by many factors, and has many different types, such as bulging discs, back spasms or sciatica, which involves pain shooting down from the lower back to the legs. A slight difference in the length of each leg can also cause tremendous back pain, especially for runners.
Treatment for back pain depends on the type of pain, and what has caused it. Bulging discs and sciatica require immediate medical treatment for relief. If the back pain is caused by a difference in leg lengths, an orthotic lift from a podiatrist can likely resolve the problem. Back pain caused by a simple muscle pull or a back spasm can be treated with RICE and anti-imflammatory medication and proper stretching of the back muscles.
Tennis elbow is a painful condition caused by an over-use of the elbow, generally due to repeated strokes in a racquet sport, especially tennis. It generally results in an inflammation of the tendons that connect the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow, leading to tremendous pain, with even the slightest of motion. It builds up gradually with mild pain in the beginning and later it progresses to a burning sensation on the outer part of the elbow or even a weakened grip strength.
Regular forearm strengthening exercises such as wrist curls, reverse wrist curls and squeezing a soft rubber ball can help keep tennis elbow at bay. Using a brace centered over the back of the forearm can help relieve the pain caused by tennis elbow, by resting the muscles and tendons. While RICE treatment can offer some relief, proper long-term physiotherapy and perhaps even a break from the sport is more likely a better option for tennis elbow.
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