Sports injuries are especially common during the summer months when Americans of all ages enjoy the outdoors, recreational sports, and league play. Regardless of whether you simply exercise regularly or play competitive sports in an organized league, knowing the hazards of sports injuries and taking proper precautions can help you prevent serious sports injuries this year.
Many contact sports like American football and ice hockey can cause bone fractures, but it’s also possible to suffer such injuries while playing sports like basketball, baseball, or simply slipping and falling during physical activity. The healing time for a bone fracture typically depends on the location and severity of the break. An incomplete fracture will require less invasive treatment and take a much shorter time to heal than a compound fracture. If you intend to play any potentially dangerous contact sports this year, make sure you use reliable and up-to-date safety equipment.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Strains, muscle overextension, and ligament damage are just a few types of soft tissue injuries common in sports and physical exercise. Overuse of certain muscle groups can cause strains and cramping, and ligament damage can impede range of motion and require rehabilitation for a full recovery. ACL strain is a very common injury among soccer players and other athletes who spend a lot of time running. The ACL is the ligament that connects the femur to the tibia behind the kneecap, and ACL stress occurs with overuse and sudden pivots of the knee joints, a common motion in many sports. Tennis elbow results from overuse of the arms, forearms, and elbows and commonly affects tennis players and baseball pitchers. Most soft tissue injuries simply require rest and time to heal. Cold and hot compresses may also help reduce swelling and pain in affected areas.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Some sports can lead to severe blows to the head. A concussion is one of the most common types of traumatic brain injury and can result in memory problems, sensory confusion, hallucinations, severe headaches, sensitivity to light, and a host of other symptoms. A person who suffers a concussion is also more susceptible to concussions in the future. Sudden slips and falls, unintentional strikes to the head, safety device failures, and many other issues can cause traumatic brain injuries. Dehydration, for example, could cause a runner to faint mid-stride and suffer a head injury when hitting the ground. Some traumatic brain injuries can result in permanent neurological disorders, cognitive impairment, memory loss, and other life-changing issues. If you plan to play any sports this year that carry a risk of head injury, wear appropriate safety equipment and exercise caution at all times.
Repetitive Motion Injuries
Many athletes who play the same sport for many years can experience repetitive motion injuries. Hip bursitis, an inflammation of the bursa in the upper thigh that causes pain, is common in older individuals but may also affect athletes who run, jump and kick during physical activities. Lower back pain is another very common type of repetitive motion injury that can affect virtually anyone after long-term consistent physical activity.
One of the best ways to prevent these and other sports injuries this year is to prepare for whatever physical activities you plan to do. Stretching and warming up before intense physical activity can prevent some sports injuries. Overtaxing your body can lead to sudden, acute injuries as well as increase your susceptibility to progressive conditions over time. If you participate in any league-based sports play, be sure to follow the league’s rules and guidelines to limit your risk of injury. If you enjoy an active lifestyle, maintaining a safe one is a good way to ensure injuries do not interrupt your activities.