Any kind of repetitive activity, such as running, sprinting, and pace bowling in cricket, can result in overuse injury. In the event of repetitive microtrauma, the body’s automatic function to heal itself becomes difficult. Among the most common body parts that are prone to such injuries are the bones and tendons, which are at risk of fractures and tendonitis/tendinitis, respectively. Other injuries included in this category are: rotator cuff, stress fracture of tarsal bones, and Achilles tendinopathy.
A sudden injury to a normal tissue is called acute injury. When the force applied on the tissue has preceded its limit or strength, the tissue (bone, ligament, tendon, and/or muscle) will get injured. Factors that are usually involved in such injuries include muscular contraction (like tendon or muscle tears), direct contusion/trauma (impact from an opponent or object), and twisting joints (knee ligament injury and ankle sprains).
Out of the many sports injuries out there, the ones that most athletes and sports persons sustain are tennis elbow, knee injury, ankle sprain, shin splints, and groin pull. Majority of these injuries aren’t serious, and will demand rest for a few to several weeks to let the body heal it naturally. Considering that soreness comes these injuries, you are going to need medication to make the pain go away.
Also called epicondylitis, tennis elbow is the repetitive use of the elbow, eventually causing irritation and tears. As the name suggests, the injury is common among (but not limited to) tennis players. Golfers as well as other people who overuse their elbows can sustain this injury as well, although it’s usually those people between the ages 30 and 60 who are more prone to it. In frequent cases, this injury can be treated naturally by the body. All one needs is to lay off those activities for a while until the pain goes away completely. If there is recurring pain felt in the injured area, your doctor may prescribe painkillers. In worse situations, surgery may be require to remove the damaged tissue.
A knee injury can be two things: a patellofemoral syndrome or an ACL tear.
The former is caused by the repetitive movement of the patella or kneecap against the femur or thigh bone. If the activity is continued, the tissues under the knee cap will be damaged. Sports such as basketball, volleyball, and jogging can trigger this injury, and one or both kneecaps can be affected at the same time. In treating this knee injury, you will need a lot of patience, as it’s going to take around six weeks to heal naturally. While recovering, some light exercise will be needed to keep up the strength and flexibility. Exercising the muscle in the femur (quadriceps) can also ease the pain in the knee.
A tear in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a ligament that holds the femur to the knee, makes walking or even slightly moving your knee difficult and painful. When there’s a pop sound that can be heard in the knee, it may be a sign of a complete tear of the ligament. It’s considered one of the worst cases of sports injuries. When there are potential signs of this injury, seek attention from your doctor immediately. When your ACL is completely torn, you will likely require surgery.
When engaging in sports that mainly puts pressure on your legs and foot (basketball, baseball, football, tennis, etc.) and your foot suddenly turns inward, you have a sprained ankle. The turn tears or stretches the ligaments on the outside of your ankle. While it may be painful to move your foot, you still need to exercise it to prevent losing flexibility and strength, as well as injury recurrence. Ask a PT what exercises you should do. If you think the pain is too unbearable, you can also see your doctor about it. When you’re diagnosed with a high ankle sprain, you have something that’s more complicated than a normal ankle sprain; usually when you have this ailment, the doctor will check if your bones in the lower leg have not separated. To spot a high ankle sprain, you may feel tenderness just above the ankle.
When you experience pain in the front lower leg, you may have shin splints, which is often caused by running. Normally, you don’t need to see a doctor for this, as you only need rest and cold compress to treat it. Sometimes, if the shin gets too sore, you can buy over-the-counter pain medicine. On the other hand, if the soreness doesn’t go away after several weeks, you must check with your doctor. You may already have a stress fracture, which demands even longer periods of rest, and perhaps pain medication.
If you strain the muscles in your inner thigh from doing strenuous sports (like baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, and football), you likely going to have a groin injury or groin pull. Apply cold compress frequently to the affected area, and let your leg rest until you’ve fully recovered. Do not go back to your physical activities/sports too quickly, because it’s going to turn your temporary injury into a recurring and problematic one.
Sports injuries can be easy to treat. Most of us think that because it’s that simple to get back to performing our favorite sports after an injury, we can abuse our body and won’t allow it to rest fully. Any professional athlete knows that such conditions will require taking a break for a few weeks to a few months; others even rest for a year! The moment you notice that you have something serious, set an appointment with your doctor immediately. It’s better to be safe than sorry.