How To Deal With And Recover From Sports Related Injuries

If you are anything like me, I pick up niggling injuries from sport all the time.

In fact, I once spent a week in agony because I had somehow strained my groin just by walking across some rough ground..!

I feel as I have gotten older I am becoming more like I am made of glass rather than muscle and bone.

However, it is rugby which is the biggest deliver of misery. All season I am consumed by shoulder pain plus any other injuries I pick up, notably knocks to the head.

However, I feel like I am giving sport and fitness a bad name here, for all of the potential injury pitfalls there are the amazing benefits to sport and exercise. I always advocate rugby due to the amazing social scene that accompanies the game.

Team sports in particular can help a person build confidence, social skills, leadership and accountability.

Many injuries take place when a person starts a new sport, the body may not be particularly used to such new strains and stresses, this can discourage a person to commit.

One such way to prevent injury is precaution. Also just do not throw yourself in the deep end immediately. You would rev your car engine hard as soon as it started up, likewise, don’t run a marathon immediately if you have just started jogging.

Stretching a warming up, as well as warming down after exercise is imperative. Also try to vary the muscles used so you get a full development and not some muscle growing while others languish.

Injuries

There are two different kinds of injuries.

Those that are caused by an event such as a black eye, broken arm or strained ligaments.

The other is caused by overuse and lack of rest or recuperation, this is the one I suffer from most with rugby.

I have tendinitis of the rotator cuff in my shoulder that never gets a chance to heal properly. As a result, i spend 9 months of the year moaning about it.

It seems, as we get older, it is the overuse injuries which are more prevalent. The younger athletes seem to experience a higher percentage of acute injuries.

One such treatment for acute injuries I remember from school was the RICE method – this stands for Rest Ice Compression and Elevation..

Let’s take a closer looks at the common injuries athletes face and how to treat and recover from them.

Knee

One of the most common injuries is a knee injury. I have an overuse issue with my right knee which I have sustained through riding a fixed gear bike.

However, it is running which causes the most problems and running can cause a misalignment of the kneecap.

The best way to assist with knee injuries is to strengthen your legs by weight training, in particular strengthening your quadriceps.

Ensure you get enough rest between sport sand workouts to or prevent overuse.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament

A tear of the ACL can be brought upon by any quick changes of direction, sudden stopping or if a person takes a hit.

However, many reported injuries are caused with no contact from other athletes.

If you have torn the ligament surgery will most likely be required.

The best form of prevention is to increase your hips and thighs therefore squats are your friend here.

Shoulder

My good friend, the shoulder.

In a high impact sport increases your risk of suffering from a dislocation, sprain and strain. Shoulder injuries feature highly in the ranks of total sport injuries and it is not surprising when you consider the intricacies of the rotator cuff.

Most injuries are from overuse and can cause the person to suffer from strong pain, stiffness, and a loss of strength.

The best way to prevent injury is to ensure your shoulder is strong enough decrease stress and protect the joint.

Exercises which will increase the strength of your wrists, back, neck and shoulder will all help.

For treatment I had a cortisol injection which alleviated some of the pain and discomfort but the most common treatment is anti-inflammatory products.

When immediately injured use the RICE method.

Ankle

I once suffered a severe ankle injury when I was 14 from roller blading. Yes, i played rugby twice per week, trained 3 times per week and never once injured my ankle as I did roller blading.

So, if you ankle swells and it painful it is most likely sprained.

This injury is caused by the stretching of the ligaments on the outside of the ankle and can be caused by uneven surfaces.

It is important to wear footwear that is fit for purpose and offers adequate support.

Much like shoulder injuries, anti-inflammatory drugs plus RICE is the best way to treat an ankle sprain.

Tennis Elbow

The repetitive motion of tennis or golf can injure the tendons that run from the forearm muscles to the elbow.

The best prevention is to strengthen the arm muscles, in particular the forearm by performing wrist curls.

To treat an injury it is best to apply heat or ice several times per day for up to 14 days.

Hamstring

If you participate in a sport which requires plenty of sprinting and sudden acceleration you may suffer from hamstring injury whereby you experience tears in the muscles and tendons.

If this does occur and unless you are going to be wheel chair bound this injury can take a while to recover from due to the stress places on the hamstring from simply walking.

With this in mind, it can take up to a year to fully heal.

Again, prevention is best applied by squatting at the gym.

Yoga is also a great exercise which can also help.

Shin Splints

If you are a keen runner or just starting out you may have or may will experience shin splints at some point.

This is when you experience sharp pain down the front of your shin and is something I had when I started training for an obstacle course race by jogging on a hard surface and not having jogged for a long while prior to that.

This can be prevented by pain relief, an insert to correct your arch for your footwear or by simply resting enough between sessions.

If the pain does persist it may be worth while seeking medical advice as you may be suffering from a stress fracture.

Concussion

It is not uncommon for me to be concussed at least twice in a rugby season.

This is experienced when you receive a blow to the head.

The most common and obvious symptoms are dizziness, headaches, loss of balance or not being able to concentrate or focus properly.

The common misconception is that you have to lose consciousness to be concussed and this is not the case.

It is not always convenient or appropriate to wear head protection such as a helmet, so one way of helping is to increase your neck strength to reduce fatigue and injury.

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