If you take part in regular sporting activities, the chances are you could suffer an injury at some point. However, some are far more common than others and being aware of the risks and how to prevent them can ensure you are able to continue playing your chosen sport rather than spending lengthy periods recuperating on the sidelines.
Here’s a guide to some of the most common sports injuries and what you can do to protect against them.
Overuse of the Achilles tendon, which is located at the back of the ankle, can lead to it becoming inflamed and painful. If it is ignored, it can become chronic, worsening to the point where you can no longer run. Achilles tendinitis tends to be most common in people who participate in sports that involve a lot of running and/or jumping, however, you can lower your risk of developing it by doing regular strengthening and stretching exercises for the calf muscles.
Tennis elbow affects the outside of the elbow and can cause pain when bending the arm, gripping and twisting the forearm. Once again, it is caused by overuse of the muscles, particularly through repeated backhand strokes. There are a number of exercises that regular tennis players can do to ward off tennis elbow, including forearm-strengthening exercises such as wrist curls and squeezing a rubber ball. Wearing an elbow brace could also be helpful.
Dislocations can occur in any joint, however, they most commonly affect the shoulder, which is the most mobile joint in the body. Pretty much any sport that involves a lot of overhead movement – swimming, tennis, volleyball, basketball, weightlifting and goalkeeping – puts people at increased risk of dislocating their shoulder.
Once you have suffered from one dislocation, you are more likely to suffer a second, so it is even more important to take appropriate precautionary measures. Repeated dislocations can lead to stretching of the shoulder joint and result in people needing prolonged periods of rest or joint surgery. To prevent shoulder injuries, you should ensure you exercise the joint regularly, even during the off season.
Sprained ankles are common among sports men and women who regularly run, jump or make sharp turning movements that can lead to the ankle twisting and tendons or ligaments tearing. To bolster the ankle’s strength, there are a number of exercises you can do at home, including ankle lifts and light stretches. It is also important to wear supportive footwear that suits your foot type, and trainers should be replaced regularly as the treads and heels wear down.
Hip bursitis is common among runners and cyclists and is caused by the inflammation of the bursae, a small sac containing fluid that acts as a cushion between the bones and overlying soft tissue. The inflammation can either be caused by overuse or injury if people bump, or fall on, their hip. The best treatment for hip bursitis is rest and a prolonged period of not taking part in activities that aggravate the bursa. Once the initial pain has eased off, stretching exercises and physical therapy can offer some relief. Regular stretching of the muscles and tendons around the hip, particularly the iliotibial band, which runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin, will keep them in good condition, helping them glide more easily and reducing the risk of bursitis.
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. myHealthSpecialist makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any of the information in this article, or found by following any link from this article. Please consult a doctor or other healthcare professional for medical advice.
Mr Winston Y Kim, MBChB, MSc, FRCS (Tr & Orth)
Hip and Knee Specialist
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon went into orthopaedic surgery to make a difference in patient’s lives. Helping patients make the right decisions regarding their joint complaints and caring for them gives him a lot of professional satisfaction.