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How to Prevent and Treat Common Athletic Injuries

How to Prevent and Treat Common Athletic Injuries

Whether you play team sports or simply enjoy being active outdoors, there’s always the risk of athletic injuries. It is important to be aware of the most common sports injuries so you can prevent them and understand when you need to seek treatment from sports medicine specialists.

Injuries occur at any exercise level from professional sports to working out in a gym setting. While an active lifestyle offers many physical and mental health benefits, an injury can take all the fun out of it. Valley Orthopaedic Specialists has put together sports injury prevention tips to help you avoid them in the future.

Ankle Injuries

Types of ankle injuries include both sprains and strains. Low and high ankle sprains occur when ligaments that hold the bones together are wounded from being overstretched or torn. Strains refer to injuries to the tendons or muscles, which can also occur due to overuse or overstretching the muscle.

One of the best ways to prevent these types of injuries is to strengthen your calf muscles. If you do sustain an injury, you should treat it with rest, ice, compression, anti-inflammatories, and elevation. For more severe sprains you may require an ankle brace. If rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers don’t help, it’s time to seek further treatment.

Lower Back Injuries

Lower back injuries are quite common, particularly from individuals who are just starting to become more active. Damage may occur from moving heavy objects, activities that require constant bending, doing yard work, or overdoing stretching motions. Warming up before heavy activity, whether it’s work or play, can help you prevent lower back injuries.

Most back injuries get better on their own when treated with ice and anti-inflammatories. However, if pain persists, it may be time to see a specialist. Strengthening your core muscles is often used by physical therapists for treating lower back pain and preventing further injuries.

Knee Injuries

Improper technique when running or playing sports can result in injury to the knee. Common knee injuries include strains, sprains, and meniscus, medial collateral ligament (MCL), and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears. A sudden change in the direction of movement while playing soccer or other types of sports often results in knee injuries. This is why you often hear about so many professional athletes with knee injuries.

To prevent these, proper conditioning and focus on flexibility can help reduce your chances of getting hurt. Knee support for runners can also help lessen the risk of a sprain or strain. If you play sports or are an avid runner, concentrating on proper technique and form also helps.

Shoulder Injuries

Common shoulder injuries such as sprains or strains often are a direct result of overstretching a muscle or repetitive movement. Activities where you throw a baseball or football often result in injury to the shoulder.

To prevent this type of injury, focus on stretching properly before you start exercising. If you’re using your shoulder muscles, listen to your body and stop when you’re tired. Remember, muscle fatigue will take away the body’s protective mechanisms and increase your risk of getting injured.

Seek Treatment from Valley Orthopaedic Specialists

While many of these common athletic injuries will heal on their own with rest, ice, and some over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, it’s essential to know when you need treatment. If you can’t bear weight on a limb, you have excessive swelling, you see deformities in a joint or bone, or your injury doesn’t get better after a few days of rest and treatment at home, it’s time to see a sports medicine specialist.

At Valley Orthopaedic, we offer patient-specific treatment options to help you recover. Contact us today to set up your appointment and we’ll work with you to get you back to the activities you love.