Summer is approaching and most of us will be out in the sun trying to stay active. Exercise is great for you but you can get injured if you don’t do it right. Here are the seven most common sports injuries:
1. Ankle sprain (rolling the ankle)
2. Groin pull
3. Hamstring pull or sprain
4. Shin Splints
5. ACL tear in Knee
6. Patello-femoral Syndrome (kneecap rubbing against the thigh bone or Femur)
7. Tennis Elbow
Mot of the injuries are strains or sprains to the ligaments, muscles and tendons. This is what most of us refer to as “pulling a muscle”. Playing sports or being active sometimes comes with a cost and accidents to happen but in most cases these injuries can be prevented if you take the proper precautions.
What I commonly see in my office are injuries that could have been prevented from proper stretching or conditioning to prepare for the activity desired. Basketball, soccer, football, tennis all need different stretches and conditioning in order to perform the activity and help prevent injury. Often when asking athletes if they stretch, they say not enough or no. This will lead to injury. Stretching right before and after the activity is necessary if you want to prevent tearing or pulling on the musculoskeletal system.
I often have to tell active patients that stretching before and after a workout is for the workout, not for the rest of the day. Most people have desk jobs where they are sitting or even standing at a desk for multiple hours per day. This tightens up the body and puts stress on different joints. Stretching is needed because there is very little activity for the day. You must take into account of any sedentary lifestyle patterns and move around increasing blood flow and loosening up the joints.
Also, if you have been sitting for hours at a time and not moving then all of a sudden you start running or playing in a sport without proper stretching, you will get hurt unless you do some movement and stretching of the areas that you will be using during the workout.
For those of you that have a physical job like construction, landscaper, painter, plumber, electrician etc. Yes, these jobs are physical and you may feel like you are in great condition but remember that these jobs put quiet a strain on the body and do need stretching beforehand. You must prepare your body for the physical job and it is normally pretty repetitive leading to strained areas. Also, I find that these jobs normally use specific muscles all day long and other muscles are not utilized leading to an imbalance in the system that often leads to injury. For instance, if you are a plumber you often are laying on your back looking up cranking a wrench turning the forearm back and forth. This puts a strain on those areas but the back is weak because it it not engaged. Now you are at risk of injuring your back because your arm, shoulders and hands are strong but the back isn’t. Understanding what needs to be conditioned for your specific lifestyle is key to preventing injuries with physical jobs as well.
So what do you do when one of these injuries happen?
Well, first of all get the swelling down first. Normally after a sprain or strain to an area there is swelling. Ice normally takes care of this during the first 24 hours. However, even if the swelling goes down that doesn’t mean that the injury is healed. After the swelling is gone, now we need to rehab the area and get it strong and moving the way it should again. This will take some time but if done right, you should be able to start doing your workout or activity without restrictions.
If you sprain the area multiple times, it may be the shoes you are wearing, equipment you are using or your form. All of this can be modified to prevent further injuries.
Remember, your lifestyle determins your health status and keeping muscles relaxed before and after a workout is key to a healthy body free of pain or dis-ease.
If you experience any of the above and are in the Redwood City area, we can help.