Whether you are a professional athlete, weekend warrior, or Sunday morning walking group kind of person, there is always a chance you could get injured. Sports injuries occur when playing indoor or outdoor sports or while exercising. They can result from accidents, inadequate training, improper use of protective devices, or insufficient stretching or warm-up exercises. It can be hard to know what you have injured or how to treat it without professional care when injuries happen.
Fortunately, Dr. Nicholson is here to count down the top 10 sports injuries along with treatments and recovery strategies.
- Hip Flexor Strain
The hip flexors are muscles found on the upper-front side of your thigh. While the main function of the hip flexor muscles is to lift your knee up, they can also assist in moving your legs toward/away from each other. For individuals who sit in an office for long periods of time, these muscles can become weak and stiff. Sports injuries can be caused by running at an incline or activities with sudden jolts.
For treatment, give your body a rest while icing for 15-20 minutes at a time for the first 48-72 hours. After icing the injured area for 3 days, you could begin to apply heat for 15-20 minutes followed by very gentle hip flexor stretches. It is recommended that you call our team immediately to avoid further complications.
To continue reading about treatment options for your hip, click here.
- ACL Tear or Strain
An ACL is one of the major ligaments of the knee. One of the most common causes of sports injuries for an ACL tear/strain is slowing down and trying to cut or change directions too quickly. This is a very common injury in professional athletes.
While a slight ACL strain could be healed without surgery, a complete tear will require surgery and a few months of recovery time. During this recovery period, aggressive physical therapy will begin before the athlete would be able to return to their activity safely.
Learn more on the difference between a tear and strain here.
- Meniscus Tears (Knee)
Meniscus is the C-shaped two pieces of cartilage located between thighbone and shin bone that act as shock absorbers and cushion the joints. Meniscus distributes the body weight uniformly across the joint and avoids the pressure on any one part of the joint and development of arthritis. Being the weight bearing part, meniscus is prone to wear and tear and meniscal tear is one of the common knee injuries. Meniscal tear may be developed by people of all ages and is more common in individuals who play contact sports.
Sudden twist, squat, or tackle may be the cause for meniscal tear in adults and ageing may cause the tear in elderly individuals. Meniscal tear may cause severe pain, stiffness and swelling, catching or locking of the knee, and may limit the movement. Meniscal tear is often diagnosed with the presenting symptoms and imaging techniques such as X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging scan.
Dr. Nicholson recommends calling us immediately if you believe you have torn your Meniscus. Meniscectomy Surgery is performed in a hospital operating room under general, regional, or local anesthesia and should be done promptly.
Read more about Meniscectomy Surgery here.
- Ankle Sprains
Ankle injuries are very common in athletes and in people performing physical work, often resulting in severe pain and impaired mobility. Pain after ankle injuries can either be from a torn ligament and is called ankle sprain or from a broken bone which is called ankle fracture. Ankle fracture is a painful condition where there is a break in one or more bones forming the ankle joint. The ankle joint is stabilized by different ligaments and other soft tissues, which may also be injured during an ankle fracture.
You should call to schedule an appointment if you feel any pain or swelling in your ankle.
- Shin Splints
Athletes with shin splits complain of pain in the lower leg bone. Most often found in athletes who participate in activities with a great deal of running, such as basketball. Athletes typically get shin splints when the “increase their mileage” too quickly. They are best prevented with rest and icing the area in between workouts. It is recommended that you gradually increase running activities in order to prevent shin splints.
Read more on shin splints here.
- Shoulder/Rotator Cuff Tendinitis
The rotator cuff is a group of tendons in the shoulder joint that cover and provide support to the shoulder joint, enabling wider range of motion. A tear in the rotator cuff is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain in middle aged adults and older individuals. It may occur with repetitive movements while working or playing sports, during motor accidents, lifting a heavy object or a fall on an outstretched arm. As aging occurs, bone spurs may develop and can damage tendon tissue causing tears.
Rotator cuff tears cause severe pain (even at rest), weakness and a crackling sensation on moving your shoulder in certain positions. There may be stiffness, swelling, loss of movement and tenderness in front of the shoulder.
Rotator cuff tears can be diagnosed with a medical review and thorough physical exam, and confirmed following X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound.
If you would like to read more on Rotator Cuff injuries, click here.
- Hamstring Strain
Located on the back of the thigh, the hamstring muscle can be tight and highly susceptible to a strain/pulled muscle. Poor stretching techniques or lack of stretching can be the cause of a hamstring tea/strain.
Often, an athlete with a hamstring tear will experience bruising in the back of the thigh or knee. Rest and icing are the common early treatment techniques for a pulled hamstring, followed by gentle stretching and strengthening to prevent another injury down the road. If any pain persists for more than 2 weeks, physical therapy may be recommended.
- Tennis Elbow
The arm in the human body is made up of three bones that join together to form a hinge joint called the elbow. The upper arm bone or humerus connects from the shoulder to the elbow forming the top of the hinge joint. The lower arm or forearm consists of two bones, the radius and the ulna. These bones connect the wrist to the elbow forming the bottom portion of the hinge joint.
Tennis elbow is usually seen with athletes that perform a great deal of “gripping” activities. Due to the repetitive action, the tendons of the forearm can become inflamed making any wrist of hand motion extremely painful. A common sign of tennis elbow is the lack of grip strength.
Early treatment options involve a mixture of rest and icing the inflamed area. Doctors can also prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication or give the athlete a brace to alleviate pressure. Stretching techniques and other strengthening exercises applied by physical therapist can help to break down the stiffness and gradually build strength back up.
To read more about tennis elbow click here.
- Shoulder Injury
The shoulder is the most flexible joint in the body making it the most susceptible to instability and injury. It is a 'ball-and-socket' joint. A ‘ball' at the top of the upper arm bone, humerus, fits neatly into a 'socket’, called the glenoid, which is part of the shoulder blade, scapula.
The shoulder joint is made up several bones and soft tissues. It has three bones, the collarbone (clavicle), scapula, and humerus.
Shoulder injuries can cover a large number of sports injuries from dislocations, misalignments, strains of muscles and sprains of ligaments. Shoulder injury treatment starts with rest and icing to help with pain and swelling relief. Any pain persisting for more than 2 weeks should be evaluated by one of our team members.
To continue reading on shoulder injuries, click here.
- Knee Injuries
One of the most common sports injury involves your lower body, particularly your knee. Mostly referred to as patellofemoral syndrome. This syndrome is caused by a slip or fall onto the knees, swelling of the knee joint or muscle imbalance. The kneecap should travel in the groove at the end of the femur or thigh bone. Sometimes, when you fall onto the knee it can cause swelling which leads to a muscle imbalance of the two major muscles aiding in proper tracking of the kneecap groove. This muscle imbalance can create more swelling, making your pain even worse.
Rest and ice can help with knee injury pain and swelling but ultimately an appointment with one of our specialists is highly recommended.
To continue reading on knee injuries and treatments, click here.
Services We Offer
Dr. Nicholson and Dr. Spiegl are currently scheduling appointments in-house and via telemedicine. Our team can evaluate and, if necessary, treat an injury to prevent more serious problems.
Click here for a full list of services provided.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at 404-255-5595.