Now that spring is in season and spring-time sports are in session, many athletes in Dallas are preparing themselves for a season of competition and training. But just as with any physical activity, there’s always a risk of potential injury.
Sports related injuries are a common occurrence in athletics and recreational activities, which is why it’s important for athletes to understand how to prevent injuries, as well as how and when to get treatment, should they need to.
In this blog, follow along as we discuss some of the most common types of sports related injuries, the various treatments available, and some preventative measures you can take to help avoid them.
Sprains and strains are two of the most common sports related injuries, and can often be mistaken for one another. Sprains occur when ligaments are stretched or torn, usually due to overstretching or trauma. Strains, on the other hand, are caused by a muscle or tendon overstretching or tearing. Sprains and strains can both be painful and may limit mobility, depending on the severity of the injury.
Common sprains and strains caused by sports-related injuries include torn rotator cuffs, ankle sprains, hamstring strains, ACL tears, shoulder strains, and groin pulls.
Contusions and bruises are also common sports related injuries, and are caused by direct trauma to the skin or underlying tissue. Contusions are typically deep bruises that cause swelling and pain, while bruises are usually more superficial and may be accompanied by some swelling and discoloration of the skin.
Common contusions or bruises caused by sports-related injuries include bruises on the knees, elbows, hands, and feet; contusions to the chest and abdomen; and contusions on the head or face.
Muscle tears occur when muscles are overstretched or overloaded, resulting in a partial or complete tear of the muscle fibers. Although the severity of a muscle tear will depend on the location and extent of the injury, treatment typically consists of rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Common muscle tears caused by sports-related injuries include hamstring strains, quadriceps tears, calf strains, and groin pulls.
Shin splints are a common overuse injury that is caused by inflammation of the muscles and tendons around the shin bone. They are often seen in athletes who participate in running and jumping sports, as the repetitive impact of these activities can cause the muscles and tendons around the shin bone to become inflamed. Treatment typically consists of rest, ice, stretching, and strengthening exercises.
Due to the nature of high impact sports, such as boxing, wrestling, football, or the martial arts, physical injuries like whiplash and trauma are also common sports related injuries. Whiplash occurs when the head is suddenly and forcefully thrown backward and then forward, such as during a head-on collision in sports like football or hockey.
Trauma, on the other hand, is any physical injury to the body, caused by an outside force such as a blow, slip, fall or collision. This can range in all manner of injuries, form minor cuts and bruises to broken bones and internal organ damage. Some forms of trauma, such as traumatic brain injuries, can also cause psychological and emotional distress or discomfort.
RICE, an acronym that stands for “rest, ice, compression, and elevation,” is an effective treatment for many common sports related injuries. Resting the injured area helps to reduce inflammation and pain, while ice helps to reduce swelling. Moreover, compression can help to stabilize the injured area and limit movement, while elevation helps to reduce swelling. Generally, pain management physicians will often start with RICE for the first 24-48 hours following the injury, then transition to more active treatments such as stretching, strengthening, and mobility exercises.
Something else that can help to restore range of motion and strength in the injured area are stretching and strengthening exercises, which when performed gradually and gently, can help improve flexibility and strength in the area. At the Comprehensive Spine Center of Dallas, we often recommend specific stretches and strengthening exercises to help our patients regain range of motion and strength after an injury.
Physical therapy can be an effective treatment for many common sports related injuries. By restoring range of motion and strength in the injured area, as well as teaching proper form and technique, physical therapy can help return athletes to their pre-injury levels of performance while helping them reduce the risk of re-injury in the future.
While uncommon, surgery may be recommended to treat a severe sports related injury if it is severe enough to damage the bones, muscles, or tendons. Surgery may involve repairing damaged tissue, removing debris from the injury site, or reconstructing a joint or ligament. Depending on the severity of the injury, our surgeons may use screws, plates, and rods to stabilize the joint or tissue, or they may use artificial replacements to reconstruct the joint or tissue.
Warm-up exercises are an extremely important part of preventing sports related injuries. Warm-up exercises help to increase blood flow to the muscles and prepare them for activity, while also reducing the risk of strains and sprains by increasing the range of motion in the joints.
Few people realize how important it is to wear the proper sports gear. Properly fitting shoes, helmets, and other equipment can help to reduce the risk of injuries of all kinds. Properly fitting shoes can help to provide proper support and protection for the feet. Properly fitting helmets can help to protect the head from potential injury in the case of a fall or crash, while other equipment like knee and elbow pads can help to protect other areas of the body.
Staying adequately hydrated can help reduce the risk of cramps and dehydration, which can otherwise lead to injury. To ensure proper hydration, remember to drink plenty of water before, during, and after practice, or any other bout of activity.
Overtraining—which is common among athletes—can lead to fatigue, which can increase your risk of injury. That’s why it’s important to give your body adequate time to rest and recover between workouts and activities. Adequate rest can ensure you’re performing at your best and decrease your risk of overuse injuries.
While taking preventative measures, like warm-up exercises, using proper equipment, adequate hydration, and proper rest, can help to reduce the risk of such injuries, it’s important to note that there is no surefire way to completely prevent injuries from occurring. The best way to reduce the risk of injury is to pay attention to your body, recognize when it’s time to take a break, and to always adhere to the rules of the sport while practicing good form and technique.
If you’ve suffering from a sport-related injury in Dallas Texas, don’t hesitate to make an appointment at the Comprehensive Spine Center of Dallas today! Our team of board-certified orthopedic doctors and pain management clinicians are experts in the field of sports-medicine and can provide comprehensive care and treatment plans to help you recover. We offer a variety of services, including physical therapy and orthopedic care, as well as access to the most cutting-edge and effective treatments.
We’ll help you return to your favorite activities as soon as possible, so don’t wait—schedule an appointment today to get back in the game!