Most people that partake in a physically active sport will suffer a sports injury at some point. Below is a guide to the most common sports injuries, as well as how to treat them and how to prevent them.
Ankle injuries are often sustained by running or jumping – usually when your foot comes down too heavily or wonkily. You can treat a sprained ankle by using the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Try to avoid putting pressure on it by walking on it (and definitely avoid running and jumping).
To prevent this type of injury, always take the time to warm up before running or jumping, avoid running on uneven ground and wear appropriate footwear (when running, wear running shoes).
Knee sprains are often caused by turning the leg in an unnatural way, in turn stretching or tearing the ligament. Treatment is much the same as an ankle sprain – use the RICE method and avoid walking on that leg too much if you can.
To avoid knee sprains, always take time to warm up and wear appropriate shoes. You could also consider wearing a knee brace.
Pain along the shin is known as a shin splint. It is often caused by excessive running or jumping, which results in the shin bone becoming inflamed. To treat shin splints, use the RICE method and try to walk gently.
You can prevent shin splint injuries by stretching your calves and hamstrings before exercise and by training on soft surfaces where possible (especially when doing running and jumping). Good shoes can also help.
Groin pull can occur when sharply raising the leg. It is common in activities like football, martial arts and dancing. Use the RICE method when treating groin pull. Physical therapy and stretching may also help.
Stretching and warming up your thigh muscles before exercise can help to prevent groin pull. Leg raising activities can be great for preventing groin pull.
Tennis elbow results in a pain within the elbow, often as a result of repetitive arm movements. Tennis players are the most likely to get this injury (hence the name), however any sport that involves repetitive arm swinging motions can cause it. The RICE method can help, although physiotherapy is often needed for more serious pain.
To prevent tennis elbow, make sure to warm up and stretch the forearm before exercise. Avoid using a tennis racket or other equipment that is too heavy – find a weight that is right for you.
Broken bones are most commonly caused by a direct blow or a fall. Such injuries can range from broken teeth to a fractured collar bone. Broken bones cannot be treated oneself – you’ll need to see a doctor to put the injury in a cast or you’ll need to book an appointment at your local dental office to possibly do some reconstruction. Of course, the RICE method can help while waiting for treatment.
Protective equipment may help to prevent broken bone injuries. This could include shin guards or a gumshield. You should also avoid training on hard surfaces where falls are likely to have greater impact.
When trauma forces a bone out of place, this is known as a dislocation. Such injuries are common in contact sports or sports where there is a risk of falling on a hard surface. You’ll often need to see a doctor to get treatment for a dislocation.
To prevent dislocations, wear protective equipment and safety precautions against falls. Be wary that once you’ve dislocated a joint, you’re more susceptible to a dislocation in the future.