Sports play a vital role in improving your health and overall well-being. There are numerous benefits of sports, including aiding weight management, improving cardiovascular health, relieving stress, reducing blood pressure, and improving muscle mass. Despite the many health benefits of sports, there are various sports injuries that you should be aware of, such as muscle tears, sprains, strains, grazes, bruises, etc. Some factors that increase your injury risk are age, inactivity, improper warm-up before exercise, being overweight, and lack of care. Based on research, contact sports, such as basketball and football, account for more injuries than non-contact sports, such as running and swimming. Some of the body parts that are more prone to injury are tendons, bones, ligaments, muscles, and other structures. Below are the top 6 common sports injuries and how to treat them:
1. Muscle Tears
Muscle tears can occur when you overstretch your muscles. Fatigue and exhaustion can increase your risk of straining your muscles. This damages your muscle fibers, thus leading to micro-tears. Based on science, torn muscles occur in the neck, lower back, hamstring, and shoulder. There are various signs of muscle tear: muscle spasms, tenderness, pain, muscle weakness, limited motion, and redness.
Muscle tears can take two to three weeks to heal, depending on the severity of the injury. The most efficient treatments for muscle tears are elevation, compression, ice, and rest. During recovery, drink enough water, sleep sufficiently, increase your protein intake, and switch to low-impact exercises. In addition, you should avoid running, heat, alcohol, and massage to catalyse the recovery process.
2. Sprains and Strains
Sprains occur when you stretch your ligament, whereas strains occur when you pull your muscle. Stretching your ligaments can lead to inflammation and pain. On the other hand, pulling your muscles can cause swelling, inflammation, and strain. According to research, the most common strains and sprains are hamstring and ankle sprains. A severe sprain can lead to torn muscles, whereas a mild injury can cause pain and tenderness.
There are various treatment options for sprains and strains, including stretching exercises, resting the affected area, and taking pain medications for pain relief. In addition, you can use Aeroplast sports tape to relieve pressure and increase blood flow to injured muscles.
In the medical field, a bruise is termed as a contusion. It occurs on the soft tissues and can be caused by a blunt force, such as a blow, kick, or fall. The immediate result of bruises are discolouration, pain, and swelling. Most bruises are minor and heal quickly. However, severe contusion can cause chronic health complications and deep tissue damage. Sometimes blood might ooze out profusely and form a lump over the hematoma. The extent of tissue damage can determine whether you have a sprain, dislocated joint, a broken bone, or torn muscle.
To control bleeding, pain, and inflammation, use the R.I.C.E protocol (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). Ensure you keep the affected area in a gentle stretch position. In addition, use an Aerowound combine dressing for heavily bleeding bruises.
Grazes can also be termed as abrasions. They are superficial injuries that occur on the upper skin layer as a result of friction. These injuries are common in sports like hockey and cycling because of the synthetic pitch and rough road surface. Abrasions are most likely to occur on the knees, elbows, upper extremities, ankles, and shins. There are different grades of abrasions: first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree abrasion. First-degree involves superficial damage to the epidermis. Second-degree involves damage to both epidermis and dermis. Finally, third-degree abrasion is the most severe because the damage goes beyond the dermis.
There are various steps that will help you treat grazes: stop the bleeding, clean the affected area, apply a dressing, and take painkillers if need be.
5. Shin Splints
Some factors that increase the risk of shin splints are muscle imbalance, arch problems, uncomfortable shoes, weak ankles, and running on hard, inclined surfaces.
Shin splints often heal on their own. However, you can use these tips to recover quickly: rest your body, ice your shin, wear shoes with insoles, and take anti-inflammatory painkillers.
6. Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis occurs when you overuse the calf muscles. Most high-impact exercises, including running, can increase your risk of Achilles tendonitis.
The treatment for this injury aims to reduce swelling and relieve pain. The treatment option depends on the severity of the injury. Some efficient treatment options include rest, ice packs, compression, elevation, and steroid injection. You can use a tubular compression bandage to support affected or injured joints.
There are numerous tips that will help you reduce the risk of sports injuries. For instance, avoid overdoing the exercise, use proper equipment, resume activity slowly, and use the right techniques. R.I.C.E method is the most commonly used sports treatment option, especially for minor sports injuries.