Sports or exercise should be an essential step in maintaining your health. Exercise strengthens your heart, bones, joints and reduces stress, among many other benefits physically and psychologically. Unfortunately, injuries during our participation in athletic activities are all too common. Often, these injuries occur in those of us who are beginning a new sport as a form of athletic activity and become over-enthusiastic about the exercise regimen or experience wear and tear repetitive action injuries. The most commonly injured areas of the body are the ankles, knees, shoulders, elbows, and spine.
If you are a top athlete or would like to get actively healthy like one, learn about a few of the most common injuries, tips for standard protocol healing measures, and be introduced to the advantages of having a practitioner such as a chiropractor, whose specialty is the restoration and rejuvenation of the human body,
Strains and Sprains
Although bones can sometimes be fractured with acute sports injuries, the most commonly injured structures are the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Tendons attach muscles to bones, and ligaments attach one bone to another.
An acute twisting or overextension of a joint can lead to tears of muscles and tendons, called “strains,” and tears of ligaments result in “sprains.” These tears range from mild to severe. In mild injuries, just a few fibers are torn or stretched. Severe injuries, where there is a tear through the full thickness of the structure, are most often considered unstable injuries and frequently require surgical intervention. Two such common injuries are Shin Splints and Tendinosis.
Microfractures and muscle tears also called shin splints are a runner’s greatest fear. These muscle tears occur in the shinbone and anterior tibialis. Unfortunately, shin splints can strike at any time, and leave you in a tremendous amount of pain. While runners and athletes are most commonly affected by this type of injury, it can also affect people who are on their feet all day, like nurses, security workers, and grocery clerks.
In those who are training too much, overuse of a particular joint or joints in the body can result in pain and dysfunction. These injuries are called “overuse syndromes.” A common overuse injury is tendinosis, also called tendinitis. In this condition, the tendon becomes inflamed from repetitive use. In the shoulder, the rotator cuff (a complex of muscles that stabilizes and moves the shoulder) becomes inflamed, resulting in rotator cuff tendinitis. Tennis elbow is another form of tendinitis that occurs along the outside of the elbow, most commonly in tennis players. In golfer’s elbow, the tendons on the inside of the elbow are affected.
Areas Which Suffer Frequent Sprains
Ankle sprains most often involve tears of one or more of the ligaments along the outside of the ankle. Knee sprains involve ligaments, including the larger external supportive ligaments and the smaller internal stabilizing ligaments.
Some athletes may experience a stress fracture, also called a fatigue fracture. This type of fracture occurs when an abnormal amount of stress is placed on a normal bone. This injury might occur in a runner who rapidly increases the amount of mileage while training for a race. Stress fractures also occur in people who begin running as a form of exercise but overdo it from the start, rather than gradually progress to longer distances.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Sports injuries are often diagnosed from the history of the activity that brought on the pain, along with a physical examination. In some cases, x-rays are necessary to rule out a fracture. If a fracture his found most often, they require an application of a stabilizing device to hold the bone in place for proper healing. Rarely, surgical intervention is required.
For most sports injuries, there is a relatively standard protocol. They are rest, ice or heat, compression, elevation, pain relievers. For the more avid athlete or sports enthusiast a practitioner, such as a Chiropractor, will have a sports medicine protocol which expedites the healing of the injury with a focus in rehabilitation and strengthening regime to prevent future injuries.
Below is a brief explanation of each of the standard and recommended protocols.
Generally no more than 48 hours of rest or immobilization is needed, depending on the severity of the injury. In most cases, the sooner the person becomes active after an injury, the more rapid is the recovery. tIn fact, long-term immobilization can sometimes be harmful to recovery. It is important to seek guidance in regards to returning to full activity as returning to early, choosing the wrong type of activity, or engaging in excessive activity can be detrimental.
Ice or heat
Ice or heat can be helpful with pain reduction and tissue healing. It is highly recommended that your sports injury be reviewed by a sports medicine specialist, such as a chiropractor, to advise the best ice or heat protocol as all injuries are not the same.
Compression of the area may reduce the amount of swelling from the injury. Consult a healthcare practitioner to determine if this will be beneficial in your case.
Elevation of the injured arm or leg above the level of the heart is helpful in the reduction of swelling.
Use sparingly. Recent research has demonstrated that some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may slow the healing process by restricting the body’s natural healing mechanisms.
Chiropractic care can treat and rehabilitate shin splints; plus, make them less likely to occur again in the future. Chiropractic treatment for shin splints focuses on addressing improper biomechanics of the foot and knee or misalignment of the ankle, hip or spine.
Be ProActive With Service From the Pros
As many of the top athletes know, being the top 1% includes having regular chiropractic care. Having their body in optimal health and alignment allows them to achieve optimal results.
Our expert team and practice have been designed with that premise in mind. To play like a Pro, you must train, heal, and recover like a pro for maximized potential and ultimate success.
We invite you to join our ProService Team!
For Your Health,
Dr. Joseph Gambardella, Dr. Todd Brown and Dr. Benjamin Erb