Athletics is currently a trendy thing in America with professional and college athletes and coaches usually featured in the news. However, athletics come with many risks, because whether you’re participating in a sport for your own pleasure or exercising to get healthier, there’s always a chance of getting an injury. The most popular sports in the United States include football, ice hockey, basketball, baseball, and tennis. Interested to know what to expect next time you participate in your favorite sports activity?
Keep on reading to discover the 5 most common sports injuries and how to treat them.
1. ACL tearThe ACL is the anterior cruciate ligament that helps stabilize your knee. This common type of sports injuries typically occurs due to sudden stops or changes during movement, and frequent jumping or landing. This condition is prevalent in football, soccer, and basketball players. Torn ACL leads to swelling, pain, and problems with weight-bearing in your knee. While tearing their ACL, patients usually hear a loud “popping” sound and experience loss of range of motion in their knee.
Conservative treatment for a torn ACL includes rest, over-the-counter pain relievers, and anti-inflammatories. Physical therapy may help improve balance and increase the range of motion in the affected knee. Most cases of torn ACL typically show improvements in symptoms within a few weeks after the injury. If your ACL was only partially torn, you may not require surgery. However, if after treatment you continue to experience knee instability, surgery might be necessary.
2. Hip flexor strainHip flexor strain occurs when your hip flexor muscles become torn, pulled, strained, or otherwise injured. Hip flexors are used to lift your knee toward your upper body and to bend at the waist. The main symptoms of injured hip flexor muscles include tenderness, soreness, swelling, and sharp pain in the upper leg. You may also experience loss of strength, muscle spasms, and reduced mobility in the affected area. This type of injury may occur if you neglect to warm up, have weak or stiff muscles, or experience a fall.
If you experience pain and discomfort due to hip flexor strain, it’s essential to rest the affected muscles and avoid activities that may cause additional damage. Cold compression therapy and over-the-counter pain relievers may help reduce muscle tightness and alleviate pain. In severe cases, podiatry specialists may recommend surgery to repair the damaged muscle.
3. ConcussionA concussion is a traumatic brain injury that occurs due to a significant hit to the head. Concussions may cause temporary loss of brain function, which leads to amnesia, irritability, lack of concentration, light sensitivity, and loss of smell and taste. Physical symptoms of concussion include headache, dizziness, nausea, and ringing in the ears. Some symptoms may not be immediate and may occur days after the injury. Doctors recommend not to return to sports or other physical activities while these symptoms are still present.
Treatment depends on the severity of your symptoms. You may take over-the-counter pain relievers to alleviate the pain and discomfort. Getting plenty of rest and avoiding driving a vehicle or riding a bike for some period might also be necessary. If you experience bleeding or/and swelling in the brain, you may require surgery.
4. SciaticaSciatica is a pain caused by an injury to the longest nerve in your body that runs from your low back to your knees. This nerve controls multiple muscles in your lower extremities and provides sensation to the feet and large parts of your lower leg. The main symptoms of sciatica include numbness, pain, or tingling sensations anywhere along the sciatic nerve. This condition may occur due to herniated disc, piriformis syndrome, and lumbar spinal stenosis.
Sciatica pain can be treated with cold compression therapy, ice packs, stretching, and over-the-counter medications. Some alternative treatments like acupuncture, massage, and hypnosis may also help relieve your symptoms. If you experience loss of control in your lower legs or severe recurring pain, you may require surgery.