Common Cause of Overuse Injuries: Prevention & Treatment

Sports are a great way to keep active and healthy throughout your entire life. One concern with playing a variety sports are the common overuse injuries or even stress fractures. There are many different injuries that can come about from using the same muscles over and over, but there are ways to prevent them as well. Take a look at some of the most common overuse injuries and how you can avoid or treat them if you fall victim.

Going Farther Than You Actually Can

When it comes to a new exercise program or sports adventure, you must be realistic on what you are capable of handling. Most common injuries come about due to the inability to admit you can only go so far with your new activity. Start slow and make sure to take your time in pushing yourself. If you push yourself too far too fast you can end up with stress fractures or pulled muscles and ligaments.

Know The Correct Form

When you are learning a new sport or exercise, it is important that you use the correct form at all times. Work with a professional or seasoned trainer in the specific sport you’re trying to learn. This will help you to learn the correct form before you start making bad habits in the way you play or perform the move. Bad form can cause a variety of overuse injuries in your body when you do not learn the right way to perform the sport or move beforehand.

Preventing and Treating These Injuries

To treat an overuse injury, you want to make sure to start cutting back on the practice during your time of being injured. Be sure to warm-up properly during every exercise or workout. Ice down the injury so that you can help to reduce any inflammation that may be present and be sure to get plenty of rest. You may also find that anti-inflammatory medications will help during treatment as well.

To prevent these common overuse injuries from happening in the first place, be sure you learn the proper form before you start an exercise or program. Make sure your shoes are worn in but also offer the proper support for the activity you’re about to do. Remember you do not have to be the fastest at the program right away. Learn the proper technique from the get go and take it easy to ensure you have it right. All of these tips can help you to prevent injures such as stress fractures from happening to you and taking you out of the game.

3 Common Injuries From Weight Lifting

Everyone wants to be healthier and stronger. One way to do that is with a healthy diet plan and exercise, combining both cardio and strength training. While strength training is a great method of toning and getting stronger, there are some very common weight lifting injuries that you should be aware of before getting started. They range from shoulder injuries to knee and back injuries. Learning what they are and how to avoid them to be safe when lifting is key in making the type of progress you wish to make.

Shoulder Injuries

When you are performing such tasks as overhead lifting like bench presses or shoulder press, you can run into an injury called shoulder impingement. This injury is when you have inflammation and swelling in the rotator cuff area. At first you may only notice pain in the shoulder when you’re lifting your arms, but eventually the pain can be felt no matter what you’re doing as it progresses. If you’re not cautious, then this shoulder impingement injury can also lead to a tear in the rotator cuff itself.

Back Injuries

Lifting heavy weights with your back instead of your legs can result in serious back strains or sprains. If you’re lifting with your back, you may also experience a herniated disc which is quite painful. Sprains are typically caused by acute injuries or trauma to the back making the ligaments stretch to far or even tear. Strains typically affect the muscles instead of the ligaments in the back. Most of these weight lifting injuries can be treated with medication and relaxation. The herniated disc however may require physical therapy or even surgery to correct the problem.

Knee Injuries

Remember to also protect your knees as you’re lifting weights. The knee joint or patellar tendon can be injured by repetitive squatting motions, deep knee bends, and extension of the knee.  As you are bending and squatting during your weight lifting, the tendon can start to get tiny tears in it. Then you may start to feel pain below the kneecap. It is important that you keep an eye on this and get treatment as soon as you can. Some cases are helped with patellar tendon strap or physical therapy. In extreme cases, surgery may be needed to repair the knee.

Lifting weights is a great way to get your body into shape and to help you feel and be stronger. While you’re lifting, it’s very important that you take the necessary safety steps and precautions to prevent yourself from having any weight lifting injuries.

Top 4 Baseball Injuries: Prevention

Baseball is an all-time favorite pastime not only in America, but around the world. From the backyard family games to the pitcher’s mound in the big stadiums, baseball is a game everyone can enjoy watching or playing. While this game is fun and exciting, it can also be dangerous to the players if the proper caution and preventative measures are not taken. From elbow injuries to hurting the pitcher’s shoulder, there are several different injuries that can occur when one plays on a regular basis. Here are the top four common baseball injuries and what you can do to prevent them from happening to you or your children.

Top Four Injuries

When it comes to the sport, there are several injuries that are commonly seen. One of the most common is muscle strains or soft tissue type injuries. This can occur when you pull a muscle during pitching, catching, or running bases. Two more types of injuries that are commonly seen include cuts and bruises. This happens due to running into another player, sliding into the bases, or even getting hit with the ball during a play.

One other type of typical baseball injury is a ligament injury. This includes spraining the ligament which happens a lot when pitching, catching or running the bases. All of these can be minor injuries but others can be quite detrimental to the player. It can cause you to miss a full season if the injury is severe enough.

How do you stop these injuries from happening? What can you do to avoid elbow injuries such as overuse or avoid injuring your pitcher’s shoulder? Here are a few tips to help you prevent these most common injuries from happening.

Tips to Prevent Injuries

Always make sure to warm up gradually and properly each time you go to play. Do not skip the warm up as this can help you get your muscles and body prepared for what you are about to do.  Start with easy slow pitches, running at a slow pace around the bases, and getting your body prepared for the game.

Rotate the pitchers to other positions. Make sure that you do not overuse your pitcher or overuse your arm as the pitcher. Also as the coach of a baseball team, follow the guidelines on age appropriate pitching. For example, teens and adults can typically pitch two games a week while the younger crowd should max out around 75-100 pitches a week. This will help to prevent them from injuring their shoulder.

Always wear your protective equipment such as helmets, shin guards and catcher’s mitt if you’re playing baseball. This can help you to prevent any major injuries and keep you playing your favorite sport.

Top 4 Yoga Injuries: Prevention

All around the world you’ll find people getting into the sun salutation position or downward dog at their local Yoga studio. Maybe they’re even doing Yoga at home with their own mat and via the television. Either way, Yoga injuries can still occur if you are not careful. Just like any other sport you can experience lower back pain or other injuries if you do not do the positions as they are meant to be. Check out a few of the ways people get injured during Yoga and how you can prevent it from happening to you.

Wrist Pain

One of the most common Yoga injuries is pain to the wrists during the poses. A lot of times your wrist carries most of your body weight in the poses and this can lead to injuries. You have to learn the right techniques to leveraging the weight while still holding the correct position.

Shoulder Pain

Be careful not to shrug your shoulders and hold them up to high during your positions. When you raise your shoulders up to your ears, you are not allowing the neck muscles to support you as they should. This can cause pain and injury to your shoulder areas.

Lower Back Pain

While many people use these stretches to relieve lower back pain, some end up having pain because of improperly doing the pose. When you are folding forward in your positions, you want to make sure that you take it slowly and do the position in the correct way. Otherwise it leaves your back going in the wrong direction which can lead to disc pain or injury.

Knee Pain

This can arise from sitting in the Lotus position which is a full cross-legged position. If you have knee pain already, then it’s best to avoid this position. Always make sure that you do not aggravate your pain by pushing your body further than it’s ready to go.

How to Prevent Yoga Injuries

It is vital that you learn the correct positioning for all poses before starting a full class. You can take the beginners class or work with a trainer before pushing yourself too far. They can help you learn the correct way to get into position and hold it without putting yourself in danger of injuries. While Yoga is a fabulous way to get exercise and flexibility, it can also be painful if you push your body farther than you should. Take it slow and learn the right techniques, and in no time you’ll be doing the head stands!

Most Common Cycling Injuries: Prevention

When it comes to a fun way getting in your exercise or even getting from point A to point B, cycling has been the number one way for many years. People of all ages enjoy riding their bikes out on trails, in their neighborhoods and even renting them at the beaches. One problem that comes with this mode of fun and exercise is cycling injuries. Learning how you can prevent these from happening to you will keep you happily cycling for years to come. Check out the common cycling injuries below and a few tips on how to prevent them from happening.

Pain in the Hands or Wrists

Some people experience pain in their hands or wrists after riding. Typically, that is because a lot of people ride with their elbows locked and arms straight out. To prevent that from happening to you, be sure to keep your elbows bent during riding time. This will help your elbows act as shock absorbers for the rest of your arm when you hit bumps or dips along the way.

Pain in the Neck or Back

You might experience neck pain or even back pain after you’ve been riding for a while. Most often times this is due to improper positioning on the bike itself. If you’re handlebars are set at too low of an angle, then you may find yourself rounding your back or bending over to reach them. If you seem to stay in one position for too long this can cause your neck pain to start as well. Be sure to change positions often and get off to stretch while you’re riding for a lengthy period of time.

Pain in the Knees

You may find the most common problem with cycling is the knee pain that can develop. This is mostly due to overuse of your knees. It can result in problems such as cyclists knee, quadriceps tendonitis, or other conditions that are from overuse of the joint. Make sure you give your knees plenty of rest before and after the cycling journey you take. Also shoe wedges can help to relieve the overuse of your knees and thus help prevent your knee pain from coming back.

Head Injuries

Always remember to wear a helmet whenever you are riding to prevent dangerous cycling injuries from happening. Keeping a helmet on at all times will drastically reduce the potential for you to suffer from a head injury during your bike ride.

Keep these tips in mind to help you enjoy cycling and prevent the most common cycling injuries.

Pelvis Fractures: Cause & Treatments

The pelvis consists of a series of ring-like structure of bones located at the lower end of the trunk. There are three ones supporting the side of the pelvis namely the ilium, ischium and pubis. Ligaments and tendons join the pelvis to the sacrum located at the bottom of the spine, creating a bowl-like cavity just below the rib cage. On each side is the acetabulum, a hollow cup serving as the socket for the hip joint.

Many digestive and reproductive organs are located within the pelvic ring as well as large nerves and blood vessels passing through it. The pelvis acts as an attachment point for muscles reaching into the legs up into the trunk of the body. With all these important structures running through the pelvis, a fracture can be serious and life threatening.

Causes

The group of people most susceptible to pelvis fracture are those heavily involved in sports. Very often, a muscle is pulled and these may go undetected. Such undetected pulls might be avulsion fractures of the pelvis due to sudden muscle contractions. In avulsion fracture, a small piece of bone from the ischium located at the hamstring muscles region is broken and torn away by the muscles. This fracture however do not render the pelvis unstable. Most pelvis fractures can also be caused by high impact forces such as those sustained during a motor vehicle accident or falls from great heights. Depending on the impact and height, such injuries can be deadly.

Nonsurgical treatment

Nonsurgical is usually administered for stable fractures such as the avulsion fracture mentioned above. Stable fractures will heal on their own without the need for surgery. However, the patient will need the assistance of a walking aid such as a crutch or walker for at least three months while the bones heal. To lessen pain, doctors may prescribe painkillers. Due to the significant reduced amount of movement and prolonged periods of inactivity, blood-thinners may also be prescribed to reduce the chances of blood clot formation.

Surgical treatment

Pelvis fractures resulting from trauma are life threatening due to extensive bleeding and surgery is inevitable. An external fixator may be used to stabilise the pelvic area while the surgeon performs surgery. The external fixator has long screws that are drilled into the pelvic bones.

A pelvis fracture will heal well if treatment is administered in a timely manner. Some patients may walk with a slight limp months after surgery due to damage to the muscles surrounding the nerves. However, this is only temporary. In serious cases, patients may suffer from impaired mobility or even sexual dysfunction due to damage to nerves and organs.

Causes and Symptoms of Flexor Tendon Injuries

Flexor tendon injuries as the name suggest are injuries affecting the tendons. Tendons are thick, elastic fibrous cord like structures that connects the muscles to the bones. The ability for our fingers to bend and flex is due to the flexor muscles. Flexor muscles start from our elbow down to the forearms and finally the tendons which are finally attached to the fingers. Each of our finger has two flexor tendons and that includes the thumb. The usual culprit for a flexor tendon injury is due to a deep cut in the fingers or hands which injures the flexor tendons. In this article, we will look at some of the causes and symptoms of flexor tendon injuries.

Flexor tendon injuries are challenging as they cannot heal without surgical treatment. Unlike other forms of injuries, tendons need to be brought together and stitched back surgically in order for healing to occur. Secondly, careful postoperative management needs to be planned in detail as immobilisation can cause rupture of the tendon. Lastly, the bulkiness of the tendon needs to be reduced but scarring will make it almost impossible.

Causes

Sports activities are the main culprit of flexor tendon injuries. The most popular sports are soccer, rugby and wrestling. In fact, there is a term “jersey finger” that is used by athletes due to their repeated occurrence with jersey wearing activities. Jersey finger occurs when a player is grabbing another player’s jersey and finger and a sudden change in direction is initiated, pulling the tendon off the bone. Other activities include rock climbing which requires a lot of finger strength.

Some medical conditions may also lead to a decrease of strength in the flexor tendons, making them more prone to tearing. Patients who are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis will have weak tendons and in serious cases, the tendon can tear without any prior notice. The patient will only realise it when he cannot bend his finger anymore.

Symptoms

Symptoms will vary among patients but the most common signs include:

  • A visible open injury at the joint area
  • The inability to bend one or more finger(s)
  • Pain and tenderness when a finger is bent
  • Numbness in the fingertip

Flexor tendon injuries are difficult to manage due to its complex nature. Therefore, it is important to seek medical advice immediately when you suspect your might have suffered a jersey finger injury. If surgery is really required, do not worry. Surgery often brings in good return of finger functions.

Prevention of Sports Injuries in Children

Keeping our kids safe and sound is the most important thing ever. However, we also need to help them realise their full potential in whatever they do and thus, we should not hinder them. As a result, we should learn how to prevent sports injuries in children in order to progress further. In order to promote an active and healthy lifestyle, sports are an integral part of their lives. With an increase in sports activities come an increase in injury risks and in this article, we will learn how some preventive measures against sports injuries in children.

Wearing safety equipment

Safety equipments are heavy and bulky and they can hinder movement. However, they are mandatory in most contact sports in order to protect the player. For example, helmets are a must while playing baseball and shin guards are compulsory for soccer. Not only are that, wearing the right size is crucial. Only when safety equipments are used correctly can they fully protect the user.

Ensuring that the playing surface is in good condition

The playing surface is very important in preventing injuries. There is a reason why football and rugby are played on soft turf and running events are done on rubberised surfaces. These soft surfaces help to absorb any shocks and impacts due to jumps and provide a soft cushioning when kids fall. However, if soccer is played on a field that has hardly much grass left, injuries risk are greatly increased. Children can easily suffer abrasions when they fall and can even twist their ankles when running at high speeds.

Ensure that kids have proper knowledge

You cannot expect a kid to know how to swim or play soccer without teaching them the basic skills. Therefore, you should always ensure that the children have had sufficient skills prior to letting them play own their own. This way, they can minimise the risk of injuries and still keep their body fit and healthy.

Warming up and cooling down is enforced

We all know the benefits of a proper warm up and cool down session. A warm up session helps to loosen the muscles and warm it up, allowing it to be more flexible and reduce the chance of injury. A cool down session reduces muscle stiffness, helps prep the muscles for repair and lowers the heart rate gradually. However, kids are not interested in spending time to perform warm ups and cool downs. Therefore, we must always strictly enforce it on them.

3 Reasons Why Physical Therapy is Important to a Sports Injury Recovery

Swelling, pain and loss of motion are common complaints following a sports injury. In order to regain post-injury levels, movement is extremely important. The experts in body movements are physical therapists who are trained to conduct specific exercises and stretches meant for aiding recovery to a specific part of the body. So, what are some reasons why physical therapy is important to a sports injury recovery?

Identification of deficiencies

Physical therapists are the ones who conduct each physical therapy session and they are trained to indentify deficiencies in the biomechanics of our body. Just by looking at how to body work will help them to know which part needs help. Therapists are also able to prescribe exercises which are helpful post surgery and help to ensure a fast recovery.

Increase range of motion

Post injury or surgery, the range of motion in that particular joint is extremely limited due to swelling and scarring. There will also be severe pain and the lack of ability to fully use the joint. As a result, exercises are required to be performed in order to overcome it. Physical therapy will help by ensuring a gradual increase in the intensity of exercises, helping to move your joints as much as possible without increasing much pain. It also helps to restore joint movements and strengthen the surrounding muscles.

Inhibit scar tissues formation

One of the side effects post surgery is the formation of scar tissues. However, scar tissues are undesirable due to various reasons such as cosmetic appearances, impediment of motion and as a source of discomfort. Scar tissues are usually darker in colour and their sizes depend on the depth of the wound. This can cause women to feel inferior and lose self confidence. Also, scar tissues are thicker and harder than normal tissues and this can impede motion especially if the scarring is at the joints. Being thicker and harder, it also presses down on other tissues, causing pain and lead to a higher chance of re-injury. Physical therapy starts early and this helps to reduce and inhibit the formation of scar tissues, lessening the chances of those effects mentioned above.

Physical therapy is an important part of the healing process. It actually starts before surgery and lasts all the way until around a year later. It helps to strengthen the muscles around the injury to help better support it and regain the range of motion after surgery.

Preventing Sports Injuries: Stretching Exercises

Medical research has proven that an increase in the flexibility of a muscle unit increases performance and reduces the amount of injuries sustained. Basic stretching exercises include warming up and cooling down sessions. The main mechanism is due to the loosen tendons after stretching which is less prone to tears when used. Stretching also helps to reduce the recovery time in-between sessions and increases the biomechanical efficiency.

There are basically 3 main types of stretching namely static, ballistic and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF). Static stretching is the most common and the safest amongst the 3. Static stretching works by slowly pulling the muscles towards its maximum end range of motion for a duration of 15 seconds. This is done in a painless and controlled environment and during the stretching exercise no sudden jerks should be made. It is performed for usually for 3 sets and after which an increase in flexibility will be observed. Static stretching should also be performed after the exercise to aid in recovery. Studies have shown that stretching can help to dissipate the lactic acid build up in the muscles which are responsible for the soreness experienced post-exercise.

Ballistic stretching on the other hand uses the momentum of a moving body to stretch it beyond the normal range of motion. This is also known as bouncing stretching which pulls your muscles through exercises such as bouncing on a trampoline while stretching the back. Medical studies have concluded that this is not useful and can lead to injuries since it stretches your muscles suddenly instead of progressively as seen in static stretches.

Last but not least is the proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretch. It is the fastest and most effective stretching method that combines passive and isometric stretching to obtain maximum flexibility. PNF stretch was originally intended for recovering stroke victims. It works by passively stretching the muscles and then contracting it isometrically and repeating over and over again.

Stretching can be easily performed anywhere regardless of the activity you are about to perform. In fact, stretching should not be considered a warm up exercise. You should perform stretching even before you commence your warming up exercises. Always keep your stretches sport specific so that you work the correct muscle groups. Remember to always exercise caution when doing stretches and do not work muscle groups that are injured or it can be further aggravated.