As anyone who regularly engages in sports and physical activity will tell you, injuries can seriously derail progress and momentum at often the most crucial time. From fractures to sprains or the dreaded tennis elbow, even the most common of sports injuries can disrupt training for weeks and even months depending on the severity of the issue.
Some of the most frequently seen sports injuries aren’t necessarily a result of bad form or bad technique. It can be as simple as bad luck causing a trip or fall resulting in a common injury. Given the impact of recovery time when in a training schedule, how can you reduce the likelihood of getting injured and what kind of common injuries should you expect if engaging in regular exercise?
Sprains are among the most commons kinds of injuries and can easily be triggered by walking, jumping, running or any kind of simple movement. Not to be confused with a strain, sprains refer to damage to the ligament tissues which connect bone to bone. When a ligament is turned the wrong way, the pull or tear on the ligament can cause a sprain. They can range from fairly mild to quite a serious sprain depending on how aggressive the damage to the ligament is or the impact of previous damage. A sprain is largely straightforward to recover from with the right rehabilitation programme. However, the problem is that all too often people fail to give their injury the appropriate time to heal and recover.
Sprains can occur in a range of places but are mostly seen on the ankle, wrist, elbow and knee. They can be very painful, often causing deep bruising and discomfort. Prevention can be difficult as sprains often occur due to uneven ground, walking in heeled shoes, tripping or falling. However, it can help to stretch and warm-up prior to engaging in sports to protect against the likelihood of developing a sprain and ideally, practice good technique.
Proper rehabilitation is key because sprains often leave the ligament weak and open to future injuries. A good health professional will provide a proper treatment pathway depending on the location of the sprain and the severity. Typically, treatment will involve a slow build-up of strengthening exercises after a period of rest. It can take some time for a sprain to properly heal so patience is important, or risk delaying a full return to fitness.
Knee injuries are more commonly associated with runners. However, given the wear and tear that many sports inflict on our knees, injuries in this area are common amongst almost all types of physical activity. There are few sports which don’t involve the knee in the range of movement, meaning the number and type of knee injuries are vast.
A severe injury to the knee is one of the most devasting for any sportsperson. Long recovery periods mixed with the potential for surgical corrections means knee injuries can demand intense rehabilitation and recovery. One of the most common is a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The ACL is the strong band of tissue that helps to connect your femur to your tibia and a tear most often occurs in people who engaged in sports that require a sudden stop or change in direction, such as jumping, basketball or skiing. Other common types of knee injuries include a dislocation, fracture or cartilage tear.
There are ways to protect against potential knee injuries. A knee brace can help offer additional support for the knee in selected movements but regular stretching, a good warm up and cool down routine and regular contact with a health professional can be vital to maintaining a healthy knee. Whether it’s to check recovery from a previous knee injury or identify potential issues in the future through poor biomechanics or imbalances, a regular assessment for knee health and mobility can be the difference between continuing in your exercise routine or opening yourself up to regularly restricting physical activity.
Not to be confused with sprains, a strain refers to damage to a muscle – the fibrous tissue that connects muscles to bones. A strain can be minor and require a short period of recovery or it can lead to tears in the tissue, which require much longer periods of convalescence.
A common example of a muscle strain in sport is a lower back or hamstring strain – often referred to as a pulled hamstring. This can affect participants in a range of sports and can be both painful and immediate in terms of limiting mobility. Signs of a muscle strain can be pain, weakness in the muscle, swelling and also muscle spasms. Assessment by a health professional can help to identify both treatment and possible reasons for the strain itself.
Whilst a strain can often be resolved through resting the affected muscles, a chiropractor can help with soft tissue adjustments to increase blood flow to the injured area for a faster recovery time and lower pain. A more thorough assessment of the musculoskeletal system by a chiropractor can also identity where problems might occur in the future and better prepare the body for future physical activity.
Tennis elbow is misleadingly named as in fact it can be caused by any sport which requires repeated or overuse of the forearm muscles, near to the elbow joint. It’s often experienced by golfers but is chiefly caused by activities that put repeated stress on the elbow.
It can be both painful and uncomfortable but limiting activity and rest can help the issue resolve on its own. If pain persists over a longer period or increases in intensity, a more thorough assessment by a health professional will help to identify treatment options. Adjustments can be carried out by a chiropractor to the elbow and wrist to mobilise the joints and help manage pain by decreasing the compression and inflammation of the elbow.
A common running injury – plantar fasciitis – is one of the sports injuries that can just as easily be caused by walking. The plantar fascia helps to maintain the arch of the foot and if ruptured, can cause the arch of the feet to collapse. Small tears or inflammation caused by repeated stretching and contraction of the plantar fascia can lead to intense pain and it typically presents itself as pain in the sole of the foot, in or around the heel. The small tears and inflammation often happen in tandem as it is the inflammation that often makes the fascia prone to tearing.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition and can build in intensity. If left untreated, the pain can severely interrupt daily mobility as well as sporting activities. There are risk factors for plantar fasciitis that can increase the likelihood of developing the condition. For example, excessive foot pronation can put extra strain on the plantar fascia or if a person has naturally high arches.
There are trainers and foot aids that can provide extra support to a particularly weak plantar fascia or to address gait issues that contribute to over pronation. It’s important to understand the risk factors and seek a consultation with a health professional if plantar fasciitis is becoming a potential problem that restricts your running achievements.
More specifically, a chiropractor can help to assess whether issues in other areas of the musculoskeletal system are contributing to plantar fasciitis and where adjustments could be made to reduce the likelihood of it returning in the future.
Looking for a chiropractor in Bury St Edmunds? Look no further than Fornham Chiropractic clinic. Arrange a booking today by calling 01284 220202.