The Most Common Sports Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Sports injuries can range from mildly discomforting to incredibly painful, and the experts at Happy Physio know just how annoying it can be to deal with a sports injury. You will find that there are all kinds of injuries that you will have to deal with, and they can prevent you from being able to walk easily, move freely, or even stand up straight – depending on the severity of the injury. Below you will find a list of some of the most common sports injuries, as well as some advice on how to avoid them and prevent them.

Sprained Ankles

Of all the sports injuries that we have treated at Happy Physio, sprained ankles are probably the most common. This is because the ankles have some of the most susceptible joints in the body, because they are carrying the weight of the entire body. The ankle becomes sprained when the foot turns inward (most common) or outwards, which causes the ligament of the foot to be torn or stretched beyond its limits. The ligament that is damaged most commonly is on the outside of the foot, as it is a fairly weak ligament (Anterior Talo-Fibular Ligament)– hence it happens often.

Those that sprain their ankles regularly should take steps to strengthen the ligaments of their ankles, as frequent sprains can possibly lead to torn muscles or broken ankles. Exercise to help strengthen the ligament will help you avoid injuries in the future, and will ensure that the ligaments don’t lose their strength and flexibility. Physiotherapy ensures that your ankles are strengthened using exercises that focus on the ligaments and muscles of the ankles, exercises that force them to become stronger and reduce the risk of ankle sprains in the future.

Shin Splints

A shin splint is one of the sports injuries that runners will experience, though anyone who does significant amounts of running – such as when playing football, soccer, etc. – will also develop shin splints now and again. Running that is very strenuous can cause shin splints, as can running on paved roads or very hard surfaces. Shin splints develop when the muscle running down the front of your leg pulls loose from the bone that it is attached to and starts to bleed slightly, but remember that in most cases the splint will not cause permanent damage.

In some rare cases, the shin splint will actually indicate that there is something seriously wrong with the leg, such as a small fracture in the bone of your shin. This fracture is caused by stress – the stress of the running on hard roads, specifically. There are many ways to treat shin splints when they develop, though resting, putting ice on the lower leg, and anti-inflammatory medications are the most commonly prescribed. If you want to try Physiotherapy in Perth, you will find that the exercises used in the physiotherapy sessions will help you to develop sufficient lower leg strength that shin splints will become much less likely over time. By strengthening the lower leg muscles and managing load, you reduce the chance of shin splints. Also, by using shoes that provides more support for the arch of your foot, you can reduce the pull on your tendons that causes the splints in the first place.

Strained Hamstrings

Strained hamstrings are another of the common sports injuries, and it is an injury that happens to the majority of the people who are unaccustomed to doing vigorous exercise and who fail to warm up properly. You have three muscles at the back of your rear upper leg, and these three muscles make up your hamstring. When you lift your leg very high when running, jumping, or doing some kind of exercise, there is a risk that you will cause the muscles to be stretched farther than it should be. The tissues in the muscles are damaged, and the truth is that many of these strained hamstrings take much longer to heal than they should simply because you are using the muscles every time you walk around.

Happy Physio will help you to learn how to warm up and stretch your muscles properly to avoid hamstring strains, and you would do test to ensure that your muscles are properly limbered up before playing any sport. Your hamstring muscles are particularly vital to warm up, as you can serious damage your hamstring muscles to the point that it takes the muscles up to a year to fully heal. During these 12 months of healing, the risk of re-injuring yourself is very high.

Pulled Groin

For the men attending Physiotherapy, a pulled groin can be one of the most painful and debilitating of the sports injuries. What happens is that the muscles on either side of the groin – the muscles located on the inner thighs – become stretched and partially torn when side to side movements are made too quickly. The strain on these muscles can become very painful, as they swell up and place pressure on all the bones and muscles around them.

For those playing sports that require quick motions to the side – usually those playing baseball, hockey, basketball, and soccer – it is very important to warm up the muscles properly in order to prevent the injuries. If the injury does happen, quickly take steps to apply ice and compression to the injury in order to heal it as quickly as possible. It is important to avoid too much activity for a while, as a lot of activity too soon after recovery can cause re-injury.

Strained Lower Back

A strained lower back isn’t one of the most common sports injuries, but it does happen to a lot of people that play golf, do martial arts, and lift weights. Those playing golf and tennis are performing motions with their lower back that require the spine and muscles to be twisted slightly, and those lifting weights end up straining their back when they place more pressure on the muscles than they should. The spasms of the muscles can cause serious back pain, but many people also experience muscle tears that are responsible for the strain and pain.

The pain that accompanies a back muscle spasm is usually enough to debilitate the average person, as it is one of the more excruciating pains that sportsmen feel. Those that suffer from these back pains will usually spend a few days resting, as well as taking anti-inflammatory OTC medications like aspirin and painkillers. Putting ice on the back will help to reduce the swelling and pain, and the back pain will usually disappear within a few weeks. At Happy Physio, we will teach you how to move properly to avoid back pain, as well as help you do exercises that will strengthen your back muscles in order to prevent injuries in the future.

Shoulder Pains

There are many shoulder pains that are associated with sports injuries, but shoulder impingement is probably one of the more common injuries we see at Happy Physio. The shoulder bones and joints are kept in place by the rotator cuff muscles – a group of four muscles that ensure the shoulders move properly. When your arm moves to throw a ball or reach up for a volleyball serve, you are stretching the muscles of your shoulder. Too much stretching allows the head of your shoulder joint to move around loosely in the socket, which can allow the joint to slide forward in the socket when the arm is raised too high above the head.

The impingement of the shoulder can be very painful, as it can cause swelling of the shoulder tendons. The good news is that there are a wide range of exercises that can be done at Happy Physio to help ensure that the tendons are strengthened, as the strengthening tightens up the muscles and prevents them from being stretched. When the stretching of the muscles is reduced by the physiotherapy, there is a much smaller chance that the joint will be able to slip forward out of its socket.

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow isn’t only limited to those playing tennis, though tennis players are the ones that experience it the most as a result of their swinging motions. What happens is that your forearm muscles and the tendon connecting your elbow bones to your muscles gets swollen and painful. This swelling causes your wrist to actually bend backwards when the swollen muscles pull on the wrist, and the wrist turns with the constricting muscles. The muscles get swollen and painful from being used too much, and this pain is very noticeable.

This injury needs to be treated properly with physiotherapy, as it will not only help to strengthen the muscles, but will also help to ensure that the muscles are being used properly to avoid injury. The physiotherapy sessions will help teach players how to move properly in order to use their body weight to hit the ball instead of just with arm strength – thus reducing the risk of straining the muscles and tendons.

Call Happy Physio now at (08) 9272 7359 and get advice from our expert physios!