Participating in a favorite sport is a fantastic and fun way to keep activity in your life, even though many sports carry the risk of injury along with the benefits of exercise and mobility. Nor are injuries uncommon. The Centers for Disease Control report that sports injuries happen to Americans about nine million times a year.
With injuries occurring in those numbers, patterns emerge, and it’s easy to see what types of injury happen most often. Since being forewarned is being forearmed, here are some tips you can use to avoid the most common of sports injuries.
If, despite your preparations, you end up nursing a sports injury, contact the Orthopaedic Institute for Spinal Disorders. Dr. Jose Rodriguez-Cordoba and his team are sports injury specialists, ready to help you when orthopedic treatment can restore your game.
The four most common sports injuries
It doesn’t matter if you’re a casual participant or an elite-level athlete, the types of injuries that occur as you’re playing sports tend to come from the stresses and strains that come from the demands of the activity, whether through excessive force or repetitive strain. Here are the big four sports injuries with tips to minimize your risks.
It’s so common, virtually anyone who is active in a sport for years experiences at least a mild sprain. The injury occurs when your foot turns suddenly inward, overextending the outside ligaments of your ankle. These ligaments are usually not very strong and so they’re susceptible to injury from this inward motion. Sprains vary by degree and location, including severe high ankle sprains. Exercises to strengthen the ankle, such as ankle circles and calf raises, performed three times a week, can bolster the outside ligaments.
Baseball, football, hockey, and soccer each see high levels of groin injuries because of the side to side motion often required in these games. The muscles of the inner thighs become strained and can be slow to heal since these muscles are continually used simply by walking around, and few people can stay off their feet for days to aid recovery. Some exercises can aid recovery, like mild hip abductor and hamstring stretches, and others, such as side planks and hip abductions and flexions using resistance bands, can strengthen the groin against future injuries.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are the most serious common sports injury, resulting from fast stops and changes of direction in sports, like tennis and basketball. When the ACL is completely torn, surgery is usually required if you want to preserve your ability to participate in sports. Calf raises and lunges strengthen the muscles that support your knees, spreading the strain of movement that overloads the ACL.
Repetitive motions, such as swinging a tennis racquet or golf club, can cause injury to your elbow, inflaming tissue and creating small tears in the tendons of the joint, usually felt on the outside of the elbow. Surprisingly, wrist and hand exercises tend to help prevent tennis elbow. Try finger stretches and wrist flexors. Having a qualified tennis coach analyze your mechanics may also help avoid this injury.
Warming up and cooling down can help prevent these and a wide range of other sports injuries, as can knowing your capabilities and playing within them. Accidents will happen and the team at Orthopaedic Institute for Spinal Disorders is ready to help you recover. Call the office directly or book an appointment online today.