When it comes to sports related injuries, there are seven that are considered to be the most common, these are:
- Knee injury: Patellofemoral syndrome
- Knee injury: ACL tear
- Shin Splints
- Tennis Elbow (Epicondylitis)
- Hamstring Strain
- Groin Pain
- Ankle Sprain
Many of these injuries can be avoided, obviously many are unavoidable but some injuries are a result of lack of adequate training or conditioning for the sports activity that is being practiced. Here are some examples of ways to avoid injury.
A good warm up prior to a workout can help to avoid many common sports injuries. It will increase the blood flow to the tendons and muscles, increase overall flexibility and decrease the likelihood of injury.
Many injuries are the result of repeated overuse of the same muscles and over exertion after not playing or practicing for a while. It is important to gradually work up to the required level of exertion through training and exercise. This can take weeks of training, working on the muscle groups that are relevant to the activity.
Another aspect of injury avoidance is recognizing when you are approaching exhaustion and responding intelligently, as opposed to continuing when exhausted. When you do this, you are at the highest risk of injury as when your muscles are exhausted you need to stop and rest and build up your resistance to injury gradually or you risk a strain or sprain as a result.
All athletes are at a high risk of ankle and knee injuries along with related soft tissue damage, any of which can prevent them from participating in their sport for many months, as well as a lot of pain.
Wearing the right protective gear is a must such as protective pads helmets and so on. Getting warmed up before practicing or playing is crucial as is cooling down afterwards. It may seem obvious but watching out for other players to avoid collisions is important, as is not playing after an injury.
If a player or athlete does sustain a minor injury, there is a well known formula for treating it on the field before medical attention, the RICE method stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation which can get the healing process the best chance of success in the early stages after an injury.
Following these guidelines can make a big difference to avoid complications and speed up the healing process first of all as soon as a person has become hurt; they need to rest up in order to protect the injured area from further damage. Continuing playing after an injury will only serve to increase its severity and potentially add complications to it as a result. It is best to avoid and pressure or weight being applied to the injured area and this may mean having a colleague help the injured player off the field or a stretcher team.
Applying ice to the injured area can prevent excessive swelling but there has to be a layer of material between the ice and the skin, this can be done for 10-20 minutes at a time over several days. Compression consists of wrapping the area with elasticated bandage, which also helps to reduce the swelling and then elevation can do the same when the injured area is held up above the heart. Having a massage treatment from places such as a spa, will also help speed up the healing process, it will also take some pain away and help ease the muscles.
Here is a link to a YouTube video on Sport Injury Prevention and Assessment: