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Top 5 Most Common Sporting ...

Top 5 Most Common Sporting Injuries and How to Treat Them

By Mr Damon Simmons, Consultant Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon,

No matter what sport you enjoy playing, whether it is on a competitive level or just for fun, there is one common thing that everyone dreads - an injury.

A sporting injury can be a major setback, especially if you are in training for a big, scheduled event such as a marathon. All the hours invested in preparing your body begin to undo themselves with every day of enforced rest, and regaining the required fitness levels quickly starts to feel like an impossible task.

Unfortunately, the one thing that you need to get back on track is one of the hardest things to practice, and that is patience. Usually, a common sports inury such as a minor strain will only set you back a week or so and your training schedule won’t take such a dent, however, there are occasions where unfortunately the injury takes you out of the game completely.

There is nothing that you can do to completely protect yourself from injury, as unfortunately literally putting a foot down wrong can sometimes be the undoing of your entire training schedule. No one is immune from common sports injuries, but the important thing is knowing how to treat them before they escalate into something more serious. Here is a breakdown of the top five most common sports injuries and what you should do about them.

 

1. Ankle Sprain

ankle strainWhat is it? 

Ankle sprains are common amongst athletes, of all levels of experience. The sprain is usually caused when the ankle is turned inwards, causing the ligaments on the outside of the ankle to tear or stretch.

What you can do about it

As sprains are generally caused by tripping on uneven ground it is difficult to prevent them, especially as the outside ligament on the ankle is relatively weak. In terms of recovery, it is important to exercise the ankle to retain flexibility and strength. It is worth getting the sprain looked at by your private GP or physiotherapist, who can advise you on the correct exercises for your particular sprain. It is also advisable to get a professional examination to ensure that you haven’t suffered from a high ankle sprain, where the bones in the lower leg could potentially separate.

 

2. Groin Pull

What is it?

A pulled groin is when the adductor muscles in the inner thigh are stretched or torn. It is usually caused by them being tensed too suddenly or forcefully, especially when making a sharp turn, such as in sports like football, cricket or hockey.

What you can do about it

There is a common acronym that is used when it comes to treating common sports injuries, and the theory also applies to groin strains.  R.I.C.E, or Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Following this simple process will usually help relieve the symptoms of a pulled groin. Ensure you give yourself enough time to recover, as returning to the sport too quickly can result in it turning into a recurring injury. Physiotherapy will help ensure that the injury is healing correctly to avoid this happening.

 

3. Hamstring Sprain

What is it?

The hamstring is made up of three muscles at the back of the thigh, which can easily be pulled by kicking the leg out too quickly and overstretching it.

What you can do about it

Again, the R.I.C.E treatment is the best way to treat a hamstring sprain, and anti-inflammatory painkillers may also help to ease the discomfort. Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises will also help rebuild the muscle and work towards preventing further injury, however, ensure that you get expert advice from your private physiotherapist to avoid doing any further damage.

 

4. Rotator Cuff Tear

What is it?

A Rotator Cuff Tear is an injury to one or more of the muscles or tendons in the shoulder. These muscles help you lift and rotate your arm and also hold the ball of the humerus in the shoulder socket. Repetitive movement can cause a rotator cuff tear, as can a fall or knock to the area.

What you can do about it

Physiotherapy is the most popular method of treating this type of injury. Not only will it help ease the pain of the tear, it will also work towards rebuilding strength in the area. Seek specialist advice from your private GP who will help devise an exercise programme specific to this kind of injury.

 

5. Tennis Elbow

tennis elbow

What is it?

Despite the name, tennis elbow isn’t an injury exclusive to tennis players, it can happen to anyone who uses a repetitive arm, elbow and wrist movements, be that for sport or work activities. Tennis elbow is caused by an accumulation of tiny tears in the tendons around the bones at your elbow, which become inflamed and scarred. Golfers elbow is a similar condition that affects the inside of the elbow.

What you can do about it.

Tennis elbow will generally heal itself in time, and again the R.I.C.E process will help, however, physiotherapy will speed up the healing process. During this period you will need to refrain from the activity that caused the injury, which may mean that you will need to adapt the way you work for a while. You may feel the need to wear a supportive splint or armband which will relieve the strain on the muscle.

 

As with everything in life, prevention is better than cure. Unfortunately, when embarking on a sport, especially a new one, enthusiasm wins over caution and many people dive straight in and try to achieve unrealistic goals too quickly. But regardless of what sport you are participating in this is one area where a cautious approach really pays off. Ensure that you incorporate a thorough warm up routine into your chosen exercise to minimise muscle damage, because at the end of the day, slow and steady really does win the race.

 

You can speak to one of our specialists at Pall Mall Medical to arrange a consultation to diagnose your sporting injury. Your consultant may refer you for a CT Scan at our private facilities at a time convenient to you.