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Most professional and amateur athletes, along with weekend warriors have experienced the discomfort and pain of a sports injury. Many common sports injuries are just mild aches and pains, some require a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment.
A great number of sports injuries are soon forgotten, but some can have both long-term physical and emotional effects. For this reason, all sports related injuries should always be diagnosed and treated by a qualified professional.
What Are The Most Common Sports Injuries?
According to the National Institute of Health, if one is playing a sport such as hockey or baseball, or doing an exercise like running or weightlifting, and an injury occurs, it is considered a sports injury.
Common sports injuries can be anything from a bruise or sunburn, but the most common are sprains or strains. Here is a list of the most common sports injuries according to Unity Point Health:
1. Patellofemoral Syndrome.
2. Shoulder Injuries.
3. Tennis or Golf Elbow.
4. Hamstring Strain.
5. Sciatica. Lower back pain.
6. Shin Splints.
7. Groin Pull.
9. ACL Tear.
10. Hip Flexor Strain.
How To Tell If You Have A Sports Injury
We’ve all heard the phrase “No pain, no gain”. Research shows that this is not true. Some weightlifters may experience what is called DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness. It is muscle pain they feel six to eight hours after a strenuous workout or a change in routine. The pain will peak a day or two later and should be gone after three days. If the weightlifters pain persists after three days, they have a sports injury.
The pain the weightlifter feels is muscle strain, which is a form of sports injury, but in most cases lasts a very short time. If any type of athlete has a pain that will not go away, they have a sports injury and needs to seek qualified help.
What Causes Sports Injuries?
There are many causes for sports injuries. Sports like football and hockey create injuries like concussions and broken bones because they are fast, physical hard hitting, contact sports. The most common sports injuries are due to incorrect or poor training methods as well as overuse.
Re-occurring sports injuries are a sure sign that the athlete is doing something wrong and needs to change their routine, or scale back their workout to prevent overuse injuries. Many athletes, like runners, refuse to scale back their workouts, mostly for physiological reasons. This could have long-term effects on the body and mind.
How To Cope With The Long Term Effects Of A Sports Injury
Many well-known professional athletes have had careers ending due to common sports injuries. Concussions have ended the career of greats like Pat Lafontaine of the New York Islanders and Steve Young of the San Francisco 49ers. Gymnast Kerri Strugs career ended because of an ankle injury due to overuse.
The list of athletes who’s careers ended way too soon because of common sports injuries is endless. Even many amateur or weekend athletes’ playing days have ended too soon because of common sports injuries. For an athlete, the long-term effects can be devastating. For someone who has been very competitive their whole lives to now be on the sidelines watching is more than many can handle.
Sports medicine is more than just treating sports injuries, it is also the treatment of athletes minds. Some common sports injuries not only cause a life long pain or scar, they can also have devastating effects on the athlete’s psyche.
To keep that competitive edge there are many alternatives. Some athletes can play in a less physical sport like golf. Some turn to coaching. Anything that keeps them around their sport. To an athlete that can no longer compete, staying in touch with their sport and the people they have befriended over the years can help with the depression that many retired athletes experience.
Unfortunately, many of the common sports injuries that happen will cause a life time of discomfort. Some will require repeated surgeries. There are many common sports injuries that need not cause years of pain. Many times simple therapy and rehab of the injury or a change of equipment, like finding the right running shoe, will keep most people competing or training for many years.
Common Sports Injuries Should Not Stop You From Playing
With the technology available today, anyone can be an athlete. The advancement of prosthetics has enabled amputees to compete in everything from track and field to ice hockey. There are no longer any excuses to be a couch potato.
A lot of retired athletes, especially those who played team sports, seek group support. Many find that being part of a team, whether it’s in business or playing on a sixteen-inch softball team, keeps them focused and active. Idleness is the worst thing for an athlete who spent his whole life training.
One needs to find the right type of workout to help keep a sports injury from causing too much discomfort. There are low impact activities like water workouts or yoga. A professional trainer can help find the right exercise for most sports injuries. A good trainer is also a good motivator. There are times we all need a little encouragement to keep us focused.
Most sports injuries happen when we are least prepared for it. And that’s the problem. There is really no excuse for not being in shape or properly prepared, especially if you are a paid athlete. Some common sports injuries, like being blind sided in a helmet to helmet hit, causing a concussion are impossible to avoid. Sadly, concussions are a serious long term injury we are finally now starting in depth studies on.
For the rest of us, weekend warriors, common strains and sprains can be avoided. Before the game, warm up and stretch. Stretch after the game too. And rest, after a tough fought game or hard workout. Being a little couch potato is okay. The body needs rest as well as exercise.