The Most Common Sports Injuries and How to Prevent Them

If you live an active lifestyle, you’re likely to suffer from some type of sports injury at some point. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to prevent an injury.

5 Common Sports Injuries You Can Avoid

1. An Ankle Sprain

More than 25,000 people in America sprain their ankle every day. So, it’s safe to say that this is one of the most common sports injuries.

Sprains also occur in degrees of severity. As you would expect, or have possibly experienced, more force typically leads to a higher degree sprain.

There are several things you can do to prevent ankle sprains, including:

  • Wear preventive braces if you’re playing sports
  • Wear the correct footwear for your sport
  • Practice balance training and regular stretching to strengthen the ankles

2. Shin Splints

When the muscles of your lower leg or shin bone become inflamed, you experience painful shin splints. They are often the result of the incorrect footwear, running on hard surfaces, or increasing the intensity of your sport or workout too quickly.

To prevent shin splints, don’t try to do too much too quickly. A good pair of shoes with the right amount of shock absorption is also a good idea. Remember to stretch before and after your workout or match, and if you’re a runner, aim to run on softer surfaces. You can also do exercises to strengthen your legs and take pressure off your shins.

3. Achilles Tendinitis

When you overuse your Achilles tendon (that tendon that runs along the back of your ankle), pain and inflammation occur. If you fail to treat the tendinitis, it can become chronic. This sports injury is most common among athletes and runners.

Strengthening and stretching movements for your calves can help to prevent Achilles tendonitis. If you are already sore, practice the art of RICE – rest, ice, compression, and elevation. You should never return to your sports of choice until your injury has healed.

4. A Pulled Muscle

Failing to properly warm-up, a lack of flexibility, and fatigue can all cause you to pull a muscle. Common pulled muscles include calves and hamstrings. A pulled muscle is painful and can result in bruising.

The best way to avoid a pulled muscle is to spend adequate time stretching before and after your sports. Also, avoid activities when you feel weak and fatigued.

5. Lower Back Strain

People who play sports are at risk for lower back strains. This type of strain occurs in the lumbar section of the spine. A number of tendons, ligaments and nerves here can cause pain. The cause of back strain can vary, from old injuries to poor posture and sudden movements.

To prevent lower back strain, athletes typically work on core muscles. They also work on flexibility. The goal is to provide as much support for the lumbar area as possible.

Also remember to warm up properly before any type of physical activity, whether it’s through applied heat, stretching, or – just to be safe – both.

Common Sports Injuries Can Be Prevented

Most sports injuries can be prevented and are often the result of not warming up or stretching properly and regularly. What’s more, a lack of flexibility of muscles can contribute to the likelihood of injuries, so remember to work on this, and make warming up and cooling down an essential part of both your workouts and your sports regimes.

Don’t try to increase the level of intensity of anything you do too quickly, so you can give your body a chance to slowly adapt to the additional load put on it.

If you’re experiencing strains, pains, or pulls, it’s time to book your physical therapy session at Midtown East Physical Therapy.

Author Dr. Dmitry Shestakovsky Director of Rehabilitation at MTE Physical Therapy with a focus on manual therapy with an emphasis on osteopathic and spinal manipulation in evaluating and treating musculoskeletal and neuromuscular dysfunction.

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