Whether you're an athlete or a weekend warrior, if you play sports, you've most likely obtained an injury at some point. Sports injuries can be acute - the result of a sudden event that causes very noticeable symptoms - or chronic - conditions caused by overuse that can have more subtle symptoms and worsen over time.
Sports injuries have many causes, including accidents, impact, poor training techniques, improper equipment, or lack of mobility. While joints are most vulnerable to injuries, any body part is at risk.
At TruWell Health, we've seen it all, from muscle sprains and ligament tears, to dislocated joints. Keep reading for our comprehensive guide to sports injuries.
When do Sports Injuries Occur?
Sports injuries can occur at any time, and almost any body part can be injured, including the muscles, bones, joints, and connective tissues. Some of the most common ways these injuries occur are:
- Accidents such as slips, falls, or heavy blows
- Inadequate warm-up before exercise
- Poor technique and form
- Poor equipment
- Pushing the body too hard
5 of the Most Common Types of Injury
When we play sports, we don't plan to get hurt, yet there are common athletic injuries healthcare providers see time and again, including:
- Sprains - When a ligament is strained it can leave the affected area weak and at risk of future sprains, so if you have a history of spraining a knee or ankle, it's a good idea to support it with a brace while exercising in the future.
- Strains - Most strains are nothing to worry about and heal naturally on their own. The best way to reduce the risk of strained muscles is to warm up and stretch before engaging in any exercise.
- Fractures - Most contact sports come with a risk of fractures. These injuries can be painful, take weeks to heal, and may sometimes require surgery to correct. You can reduce this risk by wearing protective padding, warming up, and keeping muscles strong and flexible.
- Concussions - This occurs when a sudden impact to the head causes the brain to move rapidly back and forth inside the skull. Concussions may be mild to severe, with symptoms ranging from headaches to loss of consciousness. Always seek medical advice when a head injury has occurred.
- Overuse injuries - These include stress fractures, tendinitis, and any other joint or muscle damage caused by repetitive trauma.
What Happens if I Leave a Sports Injury Untreated?
Overlooking or hiding an injury can pose significant risks to your health. In the long run, the cost of an untreated injury can be much higher than seeking treatment immediately.
Untreated injuries, especially concussions and soft tissue damage, can cause you a great deal of pain, inconvenience, time, and money and may lead to other health issues that are more difficult to treat. No matter your suspected injury, it's always better to seek medical advice from a trusted healthcare provider as soon as possible.
How can Sports Injuries be Prevented?
You can reduce your risk of getting injured by:
- Warming up properly before exercise
- Listening to your body and not pushing beyond its limits
- Using appropriate and safe equipment
- Practicing correct form and technique
Sports Injuries: Acute or Chronic?
Sports injuries fall into two categories, acute or chronic.
An acute injury results from an incident or accident and causes noticeable and immediate symptoms, e.g., a slip, fall, tackle, or collision. A chronic injury results from long-term damage. It may begin as an acute injury that does not heal entirely or may be caused by overuse, improper form, and playing through pain.
Common Sports Injuries in Weekend Warriors
Weekend Warrior Syndrome happens when people are too busy during the week to exercise, causing over-exertion on the weekend. Because of this irregular exercise pattern, weekend warriors are more prone to injuries than those who exercise throughout the week. When trying to cram hours of workout time into one or two days, weekend warriors often forget to stretch correctly and pay attention to important signals their body sends them. Working out like this leads to more injury.
Some of the most common weekend warrior injuries we see at Truwell Health are:
- Rotator cuff tears - When the ligaments of the shoulder are damaged by repetitive activities or sudden trauma, you may tear your rotator cuff.
- Knee damage (including meniscus, cartilage, and ACL injuries) - As you age, tendons, cartilage, and ligaments in the knee begin to break down, making inflammation and damage more likely.
- Ankle sprains - This is one of the most common sports injuries reported by weekend warriors. Be careful when walking, running, or hiking, especially on uneven surfaces.
Who Usually Treats Sports Injuries?
Acute and chronic injuries can be diagnosed and treated by our double board-certified Interventional Pain Management Physician and our Physical Therapy Team.
Sports injuries are common, and most heal on their own with proper rest. If, however, you have an injury that is not improving with simple treatment or is getting worse, reach out to the trained professionals at Truwell Health today through our office at 727-361-2162 or book an appointment online.