Joint injuries during sports aren’t uncommon. These tend to occur for one of two main reasons: overuse or trauma. Overuse involves repetitive motion that puts stress on joints by using them over and over in an unaccustomed way. Trauma results from an impact, twisting violently, or falling, and any of these can even result in a broken bone.
Certain sports are more likely to cause one of these injuries. These are activities that tend to put a lot of strain on one part of the body, involve a higher-than-normal chance of being struck by a ball or other object, or pose an increased risk of falling or wrenching a joint out of its normal position.
While some low-impact athletic activities are actually good for joints, improving mobility and reducing pain, here are some of them can put you at additional risk of an injured joint.
Although it’s named after tennis, other athletes also develop tennis elbow. Any sport or profession that puts a lot of strain on the wrist and arm can over stress the tendons in the elbow, usually causing pain on the outside of the joint. This can include fencing, weightlifting, golf, as well as trades that involve a great deal of arm movement, like laying bricks.
The best way to protect yourself against tennis elbow is to warm up before activity and be sure you’re moving in the proper way. Consult with a coach or physical therapist for helpful pointers.
Although weightlifting can create problems in the shoulder joints, back and neck, it’s particularly common for these athletes to injure their knees. This happens because lifters often suddenly put extra pressure on their knee joints when jerking the weight up or they overstretch their knees to support it. This can result in ligament tears.
Because this can be a serious injury that requires surgery, your best bet is to learn to stand properly when lifting, making sure your knees are lined up with your hips and ankles. Be careful not to hyperextend your knees and try to avoid violent, jerking motions.
Pros also advise building up gradually and not to try lifting a lot more weight than you’re accustomed to, as well as working with a partner.
Running puts a lot of strain on the feet, ankles and knees. One major joint injury that can result from excessive running, bad running form or improper shoes is runner’s knee, which causes pain and stiffness that comes from under the kneecap. To prevent this, it’s important to strengthen the muscles in your hip area to support your lower legs. There are special exercises for this.
Also, each person positions their foot a little differently when running, so it’s key to make sure you get shoes designed specifically for the way you run.
Baseball and softball
These sports involve a lot of throwing, which can cause shoulder injuries. Pitchers in particular can experience rotator cuff tears and strains, as well as ligament tears to their elbows. Overuse of the throwing arm creates inflammation and injury to the joint through repetitive motion and will likely require down time for it to heal. In the case of a torn rotator cuff, that can mean months.
Catchers can experience knee injuries from constant squatting, and batters may experience the same kinds of problem that runners do.
As with any sport, it’s important to warm up, wear good shoes, stay hydrated and make sure you’re using proper form.
Common sense is key
While it can be tempting to push yourself too hard or try to power through the pain, it’s highly inadvisable. You won’t be doing yourself a favor if you injure yourself and can’t do the activities you want to or support your team.
As a general rule, if it hurts, stop. If it continues to hurt in spite of rest and ice, see a joint specialist. The pros at Flexogenix™ can recommend the best treatment to help you to heal quickly and show you how to prevent future injuries. Contact us today.