Sports Injuries: 5 Common Types to Treat with Physical Therapy
Did you know that more than 3.5 million children ages 14 and under suffer from sports injuries every year? In any given year, athletes of all ages and, sports and recreational activities face the threat of an injury that sidelines them from their activities. Even though serious injuries are rare, it’s important to know how to handle them so you can get back to sport or recreational participation as soon as possible. Physical therapy providing the right level of care can go a long way toward helping you get back into the game sooner rather than later. Whether you’re just starting with a new team or trying out a new sport after recovering from an old injury, staying safe and healthy is always top of mind. This is especially true when it comes to avoiding common injuries that might sideline you. In this article, we will discuss the different types of sports injuries and how to treat them with physical therapy, so you can get back to playing in no time.
What Are Sports Injuries?
Sports injuries are common and can occur at any time during your athletic participation, whether you are a professional athlete or just playing recreationally. Almost one third of injuries that occur in childhood are sports injuries. Exercising at too high an intensity level often can result in injury. Not warming up properly before a practice session or game increases risk of injury. When starting a new to you sport, seeking guidance from an experienced coach or trainer of the sport is recommended to learn how to minimize risk and maximize results from engaging in the related activities. Common sports injuries include sprains of ligaments or, strains of muscles or tendons. These injuries may be caused by overexertion, collision, falls or poor body mechanics. Sports injuries that athletes may experience include ankle sprains, repetitive stress injuries (RSI), knee sprains, and more.
Physical therapy treats these health conditions with rehabilitative interventions. An objective is decreasing the severity of the injury while developing a plan of care to reach the needed functional level to participate in sports or recreational activities once again.
What Are the Symptoms of a Sports Injury?
Most athletes with sports or recreational injuries can benefit from a consultation with a physical therapist. Athletes with nagging aches and pains, which are limiting their taking part in sports related activities should seek professional advice from a physical therapist to decrease risk of serious injury and prolonged time away from the sport. An important fact to remember is sports injuries generally fall into two categories: acute and chronic.
Acute injuries occur suddenly, such as when a person falls, receives a blow, or twists a joint. Common symptoms of an acute injury include:
- Sudden, severe pain
- Swelling or bruising
- Challenging to put weight on a leg, knee, ankle, or foot
- Not being able to move a joint normally
- Severe weakness of an injured limb
- A bone or joint that is visibly out of place
Chronic injuries are usually the result of overuse, develop slowly over time. An example is repetitive stress injuries including shin splints. Knee can become too damaged to function optimally anymore. Symptoms of a chronic include:
- Pain when you play or train
- More severe pain can limit other daily activities: sitting, walking, climbing steps, etc.
- Swelling and a dull ache when you rest
- Decreased ability to sleep
Who May Be at Risk for a Sports Injury?
All who participate in sport related activities are at risk of injury. There are many risk factors for sports injuries. Physical and behavioral characteristics of the individual are considered. Environmental factors also can play a role in increasing or decreasing risk of injury.
The following are risk factors for sports injuries:
- Poor exercise or sport technique
- Not wearing the right safety equipment
- Too high a level of intensity
- Playing a single sport all year without a planned break
- Running or jumping on concrete or asphalt
- Wearing footwear with poor support
- Improper gear
- History of previous injury
What are the Most Common Body Parts Affected by a Sports Injury?
Sports injuries can affect almost any body part, including your muscles, bones, and joints. The human body has a complex network of tissues and organs. Each tissue and organ perform specific functions and receives pressure to perform those functions. If one area is overworked or poorly maintained, it may become painful or result in other health problems.
Some of the common body parts affected by sports injuries include:
- Elbow Injuries. Tennis elbow is a common elbow injury occurring in sports or daily activities. Frequent gripping of a racket or other equipment may result in an overuse injury.
- Knee Injuries. The knees endure a lot of impact and wear and tear. Tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are quite common in activities requiring athletes moving in multi-directions. Soccer and basketball are examples of multidirectional sports. Cartilage tears, patella dislocation, and fractures are other knee injuries that may occur.
- Lower extremity Injuries. Muscle strains are common to lower extremities thighs and legs. It is common for athletes to pull a hamstring, for example. This may occur when the muscles at the back of the thigh are over stretched or overloaded.
- Low Back injuries. The low back is subjected to stress during sports activities. Over time, the accumulation of the stress may result in inflammation in the low back region. Acute blows and injuries are not uncommon either.
- Head injury. A sudden impact to the head may result in a concussion. Concussions range from mild to severe. Evaluation by a health care professional specializing in care and prevention of sport injuries should be done immediately. When needed the professional will have the injured individual referred to a physician knowledgeable in treatment of individuals who have incurred a possible concussion.
5 Most Common Sports Injuries
Sports injuries are common and can be severe. Often injuries occur due to exercising at too high an intensity, duration, frequency, or any combination of the three. Any person who participates in sports is at risk for a sports injury. According to a CDC report, body parts most injured in sports or recreation activities are the lower extremities at 42 percent of all injuries. Upper extremities at 30 percent and, the head and neck at 16% round out the top three most injured body parts.
Let’s look into 5 common sports injuries:
- Sprains and strains. Ligaments and muscles are subjected to sprains and strains all the time during sports and recreational activities. They are most often occurred from falling and twisting. Common symptoms include pain, swelling and bruising.
- Knee injuries. Patellar, kneecap, injuries are very common. Jumper’s knee, is inflammation of the patellar tendon. This is the tissue that connects the patella to the shin bone.
- Rotator cuff injuries (RCI) are common sport injuries that results from trauma or repetitive movement of the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles that stabilize the shoulder. RCIs range from partial stains to complete tears. Physical therapy is recommended to improve muscle strength and movement.
- Fractures. Fractures refer to broken bones and can occur in all ages. Fractures in children heal faster than those to adults.
- Shin splint. This term refers to pain in the shin bone or tibia, the large bone in front of your leg. This usually occurs in athletes who have intensified their training routines. Most cases can be treated conservatively with physical therapy.
As a result of your sport, you may experience time away from work and sports participation during recovery, as well as the possibility that you may need to see a doctor or physical therapist to treat the current injury and decrease the risk of injury recurrence.
How to Treat Sports Injuries with Physical Therapy
Sports-related injuries are frequent and can affect your bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other body parts. Many minor injuries can be treated at home using rest, ice, compression, elevation, and over-the-counter painkillers. However, some injuries need medical attention, including surgery, physical therapy, and immobilization.
At Twin Boro, we provide non-invasive, non-surgical therapy solutions for sports injuries tailored to each patient’s needs. Get the support and advice you need to return your body to peak performance after a sports injury.
At Twin Boro, the goal of physical therapy after sports injuries is to protect the joints while aiding in recovery through rest, exercise changes, or pain medication. A sports injury’s symptoms depend on the type of injury.
How Long does Physical Therapy Treatment Take?
The physical therapy process starts with an examination and evaluation of your injury or condition, which can include several tests. At Twin Boro, physical therapists will create a personalized treatment plan to help you recover from the injury at hand. Based on your specific needs, treatment for sports-related injuries can last anywhere from days, weeks, to months.
Why Choose Twin Boro for Physical Therapy from Sports Injuries?
At Twin Boro Physical Therapy, we offer treatment of a wide range of sports injuries. For adult recreational athletes whose injuries may have kept them from work, Twin Boro physical therapy program can include working conditioning interventions. Our patients include athletes of all ages and disciplines as well as weekend warriors who find themselves sidelined by an injury.
Contact us today at 1-866-525-1117 for a free screening or consultation with one of our physical therapists. Our physical therapists will listen to your concerns, help determine if you are a candidate for physical therapy treatments and guide you through the scheduling process to make it as easy as possible!