Fall means the return of sports – and not just football on television. In fact, there’s a good chance that you or someone you love is in the midst of, or set to begin, playing some sort of competitive sport. Unfortunately, that also means the return of sports injuries.
Should you find yourself sidelined, know that Longstreet Clinic’s sports medicine team is here to help so that you can get back to doing the activities you enjoy.
Common Sports Injuries
Beyond bumps and bruises, there are many common sports-related injuries to be aware of:
A serious injury that cannot be taken lightly. If you or loved one even think you have a concussion you should seek immediate medical attention. Anyone suffering concussion symptoms should NOT return to competition until cleared by a health care professional. Our Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation specialists are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of concussions.
Muscle Strains & Sprains
Some are mild, while others can be severe. Regardless, all require some level of therapy in order to attain full recovery, even if that means rest and ice. Therapeutic techniques can also provide speedier relief, along with a stretching and strengthening program following the reduction of swelling.
Knee & Ankle Ligament Sprains/Tears
It is often difficult to determine the severity and effects of a knee or ankle injury. Don’t rely only on the amount of “pops” you hear, or pain experienced as an indication of your condition. If swelling or discomfort lingers, it’s time to get it checked. A sprain is a tear, but the severity/grade of the tear will affect the treatment. Severe tears may require surgery.
Presenting along the shin bone (or tibia), this can be incredibly painful and frustrating condition. Treatment often includes ice and rest before a gradual return to activity.
Tennis or Golf Elbow
There are a number of remedies available beyond rest and a round of anti-inflammatories for this overuse injury. Braces, as well as stretching and specific exercises, can also provide relief.
One of the weakest joints in the body, the shoulder is susceptible to injury because of what many athletes ask of it. Any pain that lasts longer than two weeks warrants medical attention.
Avoiding Sports Injuries
Longstreet Clinic Orthopedics’ Harry Ferran, M.D., has seen his share of musculosketal injuries in his three decades of practice. He even wrote a book with retired general surgeon Greg DeLong, M.D., titled “Understanding Sports Injury: What coaches and athletes need to know.”
“Unfortunately, there is no magic formula to completely prevent injury, but there are plenty of strategies to make sure you are in position to avoid damaging yourself,” Dr. Ferran said. It starts with flexibility.
“A flexible body is stronger, more stable and balanced, and thus able to withstand more physical stress,” he said. That means stretching and strength training (though every athlete should seek advice on the proper types of strength training for their age and individual ability).
Proper warm-up and cool-down techniques also help the body to adapt to exercise and recover following stress. Athletes should adhere to an active/dynamic stretching and warm-up routine prior to activity, and follow that activity with a cool down stretch to help the body recover.
Proper rest (good sleep is a must!), hydration (drink lots of water, not sugary sports drinks or sodas), and a balanced diet (adding a multivitamin and protein supplement are never a bad idea) are also key in helping the body to recover between exercise and even make gains.
Whatever sports-related injuries you or your loved ones endure, Longstreet’s sports medicine experts include board-certified orthopedists and physiatrists. Let us help get you off the sideline and back to doing what you love. Call 678-207-4500.