A healthy lifestyle includes exercising regularly but sometimes injuries can occur. Let’s talk about why they happen, what to do if they do, common injuries and how your Osteopath can help and finally what you can do to prevent injuries.
Why Do Sports Injuries Occur?
Accidents – falling, slipping, collisions with another player.
Misguided or no warm up before exercising.
Using faulty equipment or using equipment the wrong way, poor technique.
Overdoing things – too much too soon or just too much!
What to do if you have an injury
Important: If you are bleeding heavily, have broken a bone, dislocated a joint or sustained a head injury you should go to the nearest A&E as soon as possible.
If you have sustained a sports injury you may experience pain, swelling, bruising, restricted movement and stiffness either immediately or several hours after exercising. It is important to stop exercising if you feel pain because continuing to exercise while injured can cause more damage and slow down your healing process.
If your injury is minor, you can look after yourself at home with (P)RICE therapy: -Rest the area injured for 48-72 hours. This will prevent further injury. -Apply an ice pack to the injured area every hour for 10 minutes. This will reduce swelling and pain. Never place icepack directly on the skin – wrap it in a towel first. -Depending on the area injured, compression with an elasticated bandage and elevation of the area may be applicable and helpful in preventing excessive swelling.
If your symptoms do not get better over 48 hours despite the above self-care you may want to visit an Osteopath, physical therapist or GP for advice.
How does your Osteopath help?
Your Osteopath will diagnose your injury and create an action plan combining hands on therapy with taping, strapping and rehabilitation exercises to optimise your healing and safe return to sports and activities. A step by step plan to manage pain and enhance healing will get you back to your favourite sport safely.
Common Sports Injuries – Sprains, Strains, Swollen Joints A sprain is a stretched, twisted, or torn ligament and a strain is a stretched or torn muscle. Symptoms of a sprain or strain can include swelling, bruising, tenderness and pain. You may find that the injured area feels restricted. Depending on the severity of the injury it can take anywhere between 4 weeks and several months to return to pre-injury activities. A joint may become swollen and restricted due to an issue in a structure surrounding the joint such as bursae and tendons. Bursae are small fluid filled sacks that are found over and around joints and between muscles and tendons. Tendons connect muscles to bones. Both can be very painful!
Let’s take a closer look at some specific injuries:
Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow are what we call the inflammation of tendons and muscles around the elbow often caused by repetitive movement of the muscles of the forearm. Some elbow pain can also be attributed to an inflamed bursa or a trapped nerve.
Sudden knee pain is common sports and is often caused by a sprain, strain or tendonopathy. Other knee injuries include:
runner’s knee – not just from running and is usually caused by overexerting the knee joint. symptoms include soreness and discomfort underneath beside the kneecap; it can also feel like a grating sensation in your knee.
cartilage damage – a meniscal tear. A piece of cartilage breaks off either partially or completely and causes your knee to lock or feel like it is about to give way.
Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome – pain on the outside of your knee often brought on by running.
Shoulder pain is common in sports that involve bowling or throwing, such as cricket. For some the onset of shoulder pain happens because their dog was especially eager to chase after a squirrel while still on the lead. Lifting weights and swimming are also associated with shoulder pain. Often the rotator cuff and bicep tendons can become inflamed and painful, restricting the shoulder and preventing exercise.
When the thick band of tissue under the sole of the foot (the plantar fascia) becomes inflamed it causes pain underneath the heel. Not only reserved for runners, plantar fasciitis can also be brought on by standing or walking for extended periods of time. The pain is sharp and often severe and located under the heel and is usually worse in the morning. In most cases only one heel is affected but it can occur in both heels at the same time.
Heel pain and stiffness occurring at the back of the heel can be a result of damage or tightness of the Achilles tendon, which runs up the back of the heel. This can be pain of a gradual onset over a period of time, or the tendon can suddenly rupture or tear during a sports activity.
Sudden, severe pain in the back of your heel with or without an accompanying “pop” or “snap” indicates you have torn your Achilles tendon. If you have fully torn your Achilles tendon you should go to A&E straight away.
Pain at the back of your thigh following a sudden lunge, jump or while running is quite possibly due to a tear in the hamstring tendons or the muscle itself. A full tear will be accompanied by a popping sensation and severe pain. Partial tears will cause muscle spasm, tightness and tenderness. There may also be bruising and swelling depending on the severity of the tear.
Some injuries are accidents and cannot be prevented but we can do a lot to allow ourselves optimal exercising conditions and prevent unnecessary injuries.
Warm up adequately before exertion. A good warm up increases blood flow to the muscles which increases flexibility and agility preventing some injuries. Exercise regularly – every day if possible, rather than intense training once a week. That way your muscles are conditioned and less prone to injury. Learn to quit while you are ahead. If your muscles are fatigued your flexibility and balance will decrease which makes you more prone to falls, tears and injury.
If you have sustained a sports injury or any injury call me to discuss and make your appointment for the best individual assessment and treatment plan.