5 Common Sports Injuries and Treatments
Posted on 25th August 2021 at 16:20
As long as sport has been occurring there have been common sports injuries that have blighted players throughout the years. But how are they treated? And why are they so common. Some injuries will occur more often than others and can vary in severity and recovery time. The more common the injury, the more often it is likely to be a short-term recovery time, however, there are some very common sports injuries that can be very debilitating.
Sports injuries and treatments have developed hand in hand, an injury that would have ended a career 20 years ago can now be fully treated by trained professionals with incredibly short recovery times. There are of course common sports injuries that are dependent on the sport in question. For example, a boxer is more likely to receive head injuries than a tennis player, but there are certain injuries that can leap boundaries across sports.
5 - Concussion
One of the most common sports injuries that occurs in the vast majority of sports is a concussion. A concussion is caused by trauma to the brain such as a sharp jolt or heavy blow. This will cause the brain to move forwards and backwards quickly, leading to a concussion. Concussions can be hard to spot, but there are definite signs of brain trauma. Nausea, memory loss, confusion and headaches are common signs of concussion.
Concussions are most common in high-impact sports such as boxing and mixed martial arts but can occur in almost any contact sport. Rugby, football and cricket all experience concussions of all levels of severity. Concussion is one of the most common sports injuries and treatment should be administered as quickly as possible. Recent guidelines in both football and rugby have said that if a player is experiencing concussion symptoms they can no longer carry on in the game.
The most common treatment of concussion is quite minor. Once you have been checked and have had the severity of the blow analysed, you should be able to go home and take ibuprofen or paracetamol in order to treat any headache. However, for severe concussion you should avoid any sport for three weeks and will be required to visit hospital in order to have scans and tests done on your head.
4 - Knee Injuries
In sport, a lot of impact will be focused on the knee joints and ligaments. The vast majority of major professional sport is done standing, running or walking, meaning that the knee is constantly coming under strain and use. For sports such as tennis, football or rugby there will be a lot of twisting, turning and stretching which can lead to differing levels of knee injury. The knee is a joint for three bones, the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone), and the fibula. There are also major ligaments in the knee that control movements and range of motion. These are the PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), MCL (medial collateral ligament and the LCL (lateral collateral ligament).
Perhaps one of the most common sports injuries that can lead to an extended period of time on the side-lines is damage to the ACL or MCL. These are tears to the ligament that occur through quick changes of direction or awkward landings. An ACL tear is one of the most debilitating injuries in sport, and some famous athletes that have suffered the injury include:
• Virgil Van Dijk – Defender for Liverpool Football Club
• Tom Brady – Former quarterback for the New England Patriots and current quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
• Maria Sharapova – Former Wimbledon, Australian Open and two-time French Open champion
• Alan Shearer – Premier League all-time leading goalscorer and current BBC football pundit
The average time out of action for an ACL tear is between six to nine months, which for most sports is an entire season or playing window. ACL and MCL tears are one of the worst sports injuries and treatment can be slow and frustrating for an athlete. Time out for an MCL tear is just a few days or up to a week for minor damage but could require surgery if the injury is on the worse end of the scale. A double ACL and MCL tear can be severe and could see an athlete out of play for up to and over a year.
3 - Fractures and Breaks
This is a general term that covers all forms of bone fractures and breaks. Whilst this is a common sports injury covered by a blanket term, fractures and breaks of bones are on of the more gruesome injuries that an athlete can sustain. Visually, a break is clear to see and can be harrowing to watch. The most common form of break for sportspeople is of the leg or arm, but there are also many cases of neck, ankle and hand breaks.
In almost every sport the possibility of a fracture or a break is apparent. There is no real difference between a fracture and a break, a fracture is any loss of continuity in the bone and is generally considered the more medically accurate terms as opposed to break. The recovery time and treatment for a fracture depends on what is actually broken, and in some cases athletes can even play through the injury. For example, if a footballer fractures their hand they can simply wear a cast or brace and continue playing.
2 - Sprains
Another blanket term that can cover a number of common sports injuries, a sprain can either be a torn muscle or ligament that can lead to swelling, inflammation or bruising. Again, these can occur anywhere on the body and can affect athletes no matter the sport. Sprains are often mild, but can be more severe, such as the ACL or MCL ligament tears previously mentioned. The risk of a sprain is heightened in high-impact sports, and they occur most regularly in colder weather as the muscle or ligament is not ‘warm’ and ready to use. This can also mean that a sprain occurs if an athlete has not properly warmed up pre-game.
As far as treatment for sprains, it again depends on where the injury is. The majority of muscle strains are treated by rest and either icing or heat treatments, but can find benefits from preventative techniques that can be applied by a sports chiropractor. For ligament damage, these sports injuries and treatment that they require again varies based on what is hurt. The majority of these common sport injuries will be healed over a period of time, but again can be helped with the implementation of preventative techniques.
1 - Strains
A strain is similar to a sprain, but is more muscle-based. Muscle injuries are incredibly common sports injuries simply because of the nature of sport. No matter what game or activity you take part in, you will be using muscles. Even for sports that are not considered physically taxing, you are going to be using muscles. An example of this is darts. Whilst darts may seem like a more skill-based game, there is an aspect of physical prowess that is needed. A professional darts player will often get strains in their throwing arm shoulders, elbows and wrists, with muscle strains being commonplace due to repetitive use.
Strains are either chronic or acute. Chronic pain occurs in the long term and will be reoccurring, whereas acute pain is sudden and unexpected, but will usually not occur in the long term if treated properly. In terms of preventing these common sports injuries modern treatments have developed to the point where they have become preventative as opposed to responsive. Massage therapy has become a must-have treatment for athletes both professional and amateur. A massage can manipulate the soft tissue of the muscle to make it more supple and nimble when it is being used.
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