Every year, millions of people are injured playing a sport, including adults and kids. The type of injury you sustain depends a lot on your sport. But there are some injuries that are so common they can affect just about any athlete.
At Pacific Pain and Regenerative Medicine, Hasan Badday, MD, offers advanced, focused therapies for sports injuries to patients in Irvine and Los Angeles, California, including the five common injuries listed here.
1. Muscle strains
Muscle strains are common among athletes and non-athletes alike. Some strains happen when a muscle is pushed beyond its normal limits, while other muscle strains are associated with repetitive or overuse injuries that can happen during competition or practice.
Mild muscle strains may be treated with rest and the application of ice to reduce swelling and inflammation. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication may also help. Massage and physical therapy can both support healing and improve muscle strength and flexibility to help prevent future injuries.
Unlike strains that affect your muscles, a sprain involves your ligaments — tough, fibrous bands that connect one bone to another in a joint. A sprain happens when a ligament is stretched beyond its normal capacity. Many sprains are accompanied by a snapping or popping sound that’s made when the ligament stretches or even tears.
Most sprains respond well to conservative treatment, like rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE therapy). You may need a brace, splint, or even a crutch to stabilize your joint and reduce your risk of accidents that could cause a more serious fracture.
As the name implies, tendonitis (or tendinitis) happens when you injure a tendon. Many of these injuries are due to repeated use of a joint or muscle, like your ankles (Achilles tendonitis) or elbows (“golfer’s” elbow, or “tennis” elbow).
Tendons are fibrous bands that connect muscles to bones. Tendonitis happens when one of these tendons becomes irritated and inflamed, usually as a result of overuse or repetitive use. Achilles tendonitis, golfer’s elbow, and tennis elbow are especially common among athletes.
Like sprains, tendonitis responds well to RICE therapy. Massage and physical therapy can play important roles in healing and recovery as well.
4. Rotator cuff injuries
Located in your shoulder, your rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that hold your shoulder joint in place and support normal shoulder movement. This is another injury that happens more commonly as a result of overuse or repetitive use, especially from activities that require you to reach over your head or swing your arms.
Most people with rotator cuff injuries benefit from physical therapy aimed at helping to restore the strength of your muscles and joints. Ice, over-the-counter medication, and a sling are also commonly used to relieve pain and improve shoulder stability.
5. ACL injuries
ACL stands for anterior cruciate ligament, one of the major ligaments in your knee. ACL injuries often happen when you change directions quickly and pivot your knee. They can also happen after a fall or if you land awkwardly on your foot.
Because knee stability and function depend on a healthy ACL, prompt medical management is essential. Mild ACL sprains may be treated conservatively, but if your ACL is torn through, you’ll need surgery to repair it.
This is just a very small list of sports-related injuries, and in every case, there’s something you should bear in mind: All sports injuries should be medically evaluated — yes, even minor ones. Even a seemingly mild injury can have major repercussions if it isn’t handled properly from the start.
Certainly, you should call our office right away if any injury is interfering with your movement and mobility, if your pain is worsening, or if it’s associated with significant swelling.
Get off the bench
Don’t let a sports injury keep you sidelined. Most injuries respond well to physical therapy, massage, and other noninvasive treatments aimed at supporting healing and helping you stay active.
To learn how we can help you feel better after a sports injury, book an appointment today online or over the phone at the Pacific Pain and Regenerative Medicine location closest to you.