Sports injuries can be painful, and damage to key tendons or muscles can mean having to give up active pursuits for weeks or months, or even for good. But does it have to be this way? By stretching properly, warming up slowly and listening to your body, itâ€™s possible to guard against some of the most frequently presented sports injuries that we see in our clinic. Stay fit with our guide to preventing common sports injuries.
What are the most common sports injuries and why do they occur?
There are many types of injury that can be sustained during sport or exercise, but most of these are easily preventable.
- Muscle strains and ligament sprains are sports injuries that we see and treat very frequently. Ankle sprains and hamstring strains are among the most common.
- Knee injuries can be really debilitating. They can affect anyone whose exercise regime involves putting weight on the knee.
- Shin splints often occur in people who run a lot, or who play sports that involve running, such as basketball.
- Accidental injury happens all too frequently, especially in contact sports like rugby and high-speed pursuits like skiing. Falls and collisions can result in serious injury.
The good news is that preventing common sports injuries is simple. By understanding your body and taking some simple precautions to prepare yourself for physical exertion, you can minimise your risk of injury.
- Always warm up. Starting off slowly will gently stretch your muscles and get the heart beating faster. A warm-up is essential to prepare your body for more strenuous exercise by increasing blood circulation and slowly getting the muscles ready for action.
- Donâ€™t do too much. Itâ€™s important to know your limits and build up fitness gradually. Pushing your body to do more than itâ€™s ready for is likely to result in injury.
- Equip yourself. Always make sure you have well-fitted shoes (ideally fitted in a specialist shop) to prevent postural problems that can cause injury. For sports like rugby and cricket, ensure that you are wearing the correct protective gear.
What to do if you are in pain
That all-important running race is just days away. Youâ€™ve worked so hard to train for this; but suddenly, something doesnâ€™t feel right. It hurts to run. What should you do?
- Stop and rest. If you are in tune with your body, youâ€™ll listen to what it is telling you. Pain is a signal that you canâ€™t afford to ignore, and by stopping to rest you could be preventing further injuries. Donâ€™t attempt to work through the pain without knowing its cause; you could end up making your injury a whole lot worse.
- Apply RICE. Thatâ€™s Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Doing this as a first response to common sports injuries will help to relieve pain and help your body to heal itself.
- Get it seen. If youâ€™re still in pain, see your GP or physio for further treatment. At Harpenden Physiotherapy we treat a range of sports injuries: contact us on 01582 761448 to book an appointment.