2020 is a different kind of year, but, although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we are living, many schools have opened and fall sports have begun. In fact, getting outside and moving through physical activities and sports is a great way to relieve some of the stress of the past few months. However, participating in sports does bring its own set of risks.
Getting adequate rest, hydrating, eating a well-balanced diet, and warming up and stretching before playing are important ways of staying healthy. Unfortunately, injuries may still occur. The following are the most common sports-related orthopedic injuries that you should watch out for when you, or someone you love, hits the playing field, court, and course.
An ankle sprain can occur when your ankle joint is twisted or turned too far in the wrong direction. The strong bands, called ligaments, which hold your bones in place, may become overstretched or tear. This often happens when landing from a jump, turning or playing on an uneven surface. Symptoms can include swelling, bruising, pain, and tenderness. In some cases, you may not be able to put weight on the foot. If this happens, or if your ankle looks deformed or feels unstable, you should have it evaluated by a doctor who might take an X-ray to rule out a break.
Groin strains often happen while exercising, especially when you change direction quickly. The injury is actually an overstretching of the groin muscles. These muscles are called your adductor muscles and attach your pelvis to your thigh bone (femur). They help you move your legs toward each other, or toward the middle of your body. A groin strain is the most common cause of groin pain in adults. You may experience muscle spasms, swelling, bruising, or leg weakness, or have trouble walking.
Hamstring injuries often occur with running or exercising. Hamstrings, which are the muscle in the back of the thigh, can get stretched too far or get overworked. In some cases, the muscle may tear. The tendons attached to your hamstrings may also stretch or tear. If you have a hamstring injury, you would have felt a sudden pain in the back of your thigh. Some people feel a “pop”. It can also cause inflammation or bruising in the back of the thigh.
Shin splints are something that runners, or people who play sports with a lot of continuous running, can experience. Also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, shin splints are a type of overuse injury. People who have this injury experience pain along the front of the leg, just below the knee. If you’ve had a recent fall or accident, you could have a fracture. Some people who think they have shin splints have a stress fracture. However, these people tend to be able to identify when it occurred because they experience more intense pain that affects a more specific spot. The best way to determine if you have shin splints or a fracture is with an X-ray.
ACL Tear or Strain
You’ve probably heard of ACL tears if you watch professional sports. This injury often occurs in sports that involve changing directions quickly and jumping and landing movements, as well as in contact sports. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a strong band of tissue that connects the bones in your knee. If you overstretch it, it can cause a strain. However, a partial or complete tear is more serious and often requires surgery. People who have this injury often hear a “pop” when it occurs. They also experience swelling and instability in the knee.
Patellofemoral syndrome is usually a runner’s injury caused by the constant pressure the knee endures during running. It causes pain in the front of the knee over the kneecap, which can either come on suddenly or gradually get worse over time. Squatting, running, or sitting for a long time will usually make the pain worse.
Tennis Elbow or Golfer’s Elbow
Tennis (or golfer’s) elbow generally occurs in people who play tennis or golf. It can also occur over time with anyone that works in a job that requires frequent work with the forearm or elbow, like carpentry. It is an overuse injury that results in inflammation of the tendons that connect the muscles of your forearm to the bones in your elbow. If you have this injury, you will probably experience pain in the elbow that can extend into the forearm or upper arm, weakness of the forearm muscle, and possibly tenderness and inflammation near the elbow.
Sciatica refers to a type of nerve pain that originates in the lower spine but can radiate down your leg. It can be caused by many different things, but in sports, it may be the result of an acute injury. Your back is made up of small bones called vertebrae, discs that cushion the space between each vertebra that allow movement, and your spinal cord which consists of nerves that originate in your brain and bring impulses to the rest of your body. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments support the entire structure. Sciatica can occur if the space between vertebrae in your lower back narrows, causing compression of some of these nerves. Local inflammation from an injury or a slipped or bulging disc can cause compression. Depending on exactly where the injury occurs, you may experience pain in your lower back, hips, and in parts of one or both of your legs. You could also experience tingling, numbness, and even weakness. Exactly where your symptoms occur will help your doctor identify where the problem starts.
There are a number of injuries to the shoulder that athletes can experience. Some are due to the repetitive movement of a sport, and some are due to falling or contact with another player. The labrum, which is the cartilage that protects your shoulder socket, can be torn with repetitive motions such as those performed in baseball, tennis, or swimming. Contact sports make you more prone to dislocation. Rotator cuff injuries can occur from trauma or from repetition. There are many different types of shoulder injuries, which is why it is best to have yours evaluated by an expert.
>Fractures are always a risk in sports, especially in contact sports. There are many types of fractures, but the 2 basic classifications are simple and compound. A simple fracture is one where the broken bones stay inside the skin, and a compound fracture is when one or more bone fragments break through the skin, which can result in complications like infection. The most common fractures in sports are found in the wrist, hand, collarbone, ankle, and foot. Stress fractures can also occur over time with repetitive stress to the same bone. A broken bone will be extremely painful, and the area around it will usually swell immediately. You may also have restricted movement in the area. If a bone breaks the skin, you will know there is a fracture, but if your limp looks irregularly shaped, it is also highly likely that a bone is broken. If you suspect a fracture, you should seek medical attention right away.
Sports Injury Treatment in Clinton Township, MI
At Movement Orthopedics, we offer the most advanced on-site imaging tools, and our orthopedic team is specialized in treating numerous sports injuries. Our comprehensive care and treatment plans include any services you need, from casting and bracing to surgery and physical therapy.
If you are concerned that you have an injury, or if you want to learn more about how you can prevent sports injuries from occurring, you can call us at (586) 436-3785. You may also use our convenient appointment request form. We look forward to getting you back out there to your favorite sports!