Taking part in sport is such a great way to stay fit and maintain an active social life. Although beneficial towards our physical and mental wellbeing, there are injury risks associated with each and every sport. Whether you are a highly trained athlete or play purely for the enjoyment, injuries do happen. Physiotherapists treat a vast range of injuries, yet out of the hundreds of patients we treat each and every year, there are a few that rear their head a lot more than others.
5 Common Sporting Injuries
1. Hamstring Strain/Tear
The hamstring muscle is highly susceptible to tears and strains. Located in the back of the thigh, the hamstring is made up of 3 muscles that are responsible for knee flexion (bending of the knee) and hip extension (lowering the leg down). It is more commonly seen in sports that require high speed and agility like football, netball and hockey due to the rapid acceleration and deceleration. Inadequate warm up, fatigue and muscular imbalance are often factors that lead to a strain or tear in the hamstring. An acute hamstring strain or tear occurs when a sudden movement or force is applied to the muscle and often is accompanied by a loud popping sound. If you have sustained an injury to the hamstring or to that region of the leg in the past (e.g. ACL injury) you are often more susceptible to have these injuries re-occur. An athlete with a hamstring tear is likely to experience pain and/or bruising to the back of the thigh and knee. Early treatment involves rest and icing followed by a strengthening rehabilitation exercise program carried our by a qualified Physiotherapist to prevent further injury.
2. (ACL) Anterior Cruciate Ligament
Your ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is one of the four main ligaments of the knee and is also the most common knee injury. Most people who tear their ACL will require reconstructive surgery, in which the torn or ruptured ACL is totally removed and replaced with a graph. Recovery can range between one and two years, depending on the patient. Following the surgery the patient may be subject to a false sense of recovery, as they will be able to walk normally with marginal pain. This is risky, as one incorrect move or twist could damage the bones as the graph would have not become fully intergraded and could cause further complications with the recovery. An ACL injury, which does not completely tear and the knee is still stable, can be managed through a non-operative method of recovery. This will include strengthening the muscles around the knee through a comprehensive rehabilitation program carried out by a qualified physiotherapist. This is the most effective way to prevent any further injury to the knee.
3. Shin Splints
Shin splints occur due to overuse and it is extremely common in runners who run on hard surfaces for a long period of time/distance. It is also commonly seen in athletes partaking in sports like soccer and football that require a lot of ground to be covered. Factors also contributing to the occurrence of shin splints are wearing unsupportive footwear, taking excessively long strides and poor biomechanics such as flat feet. By visiting a qualified physiotherapist they can assist in tweaking your running style, addressing any muscular imbalances and your biomechanical make up to try and prevent the injury from re-occurring. Immediate treatment for shin splints may also require taking a break from a certain exercises to give the shinbone time to heal. For the most part, the discomfort will resolve within a few hours, but if it is not your first time getting shin splints, then the pain may last for a few days. Experts suggest resting for about two weeks and switching to lower impact training such as swimming or walking while the condition heals.
4. Ankle Sprains
One of the most commonly seen sporting injuries a Physiotherapist comes by is a sprained ankle. This can occur by simply rolling your ankle on uneven ground or unbalanced landings from a jump or sudden change in direction. Unfortunately a sprained ankle can increase your risk of re-injury as much as 40-70%, however the correct post-injury rehabilitation exercises can drastically reduce your risk. Depending on the severity and swelling your Physiotherapist may need to provide compression to the ankle via specific taping, use manual therapy to reduce swelling and balance exercises have shown to be affective for prevention of ankle sprain reoccurrence.
Broken bones may occur due to non-traumatic mechanisms such as an awkward landing, trauma due to crashes/tackles or by overuse resulting in stress fractures. A bone break is generally treated as an emergency and will need to be seen by a health professional urgently after the injury occurs and often a fracture will lead to an extended time away from your chosen sport and immobilisation of the area. During this time athletes may find that they will experience muscle wasting and a loss of overall fitness so it is vital that athletes undergo the appropriate rehabilitation overseen by a Physiotherapist before returning to sport.
Sporting Injuries & Prevention
A qualified Physiotherapist can assist you in improving your technique, strength and correcting poor biomechanics. Do not become a statistic, and remember early detection is the best prevention. We want you to continue participating in the activities you enjoy as part of a healthy lifestyle. Are you at risk of injury? Book a GAP FREE Injury Assessment with one of our qualified Physiotherapists today who can carry out a thorough assessment for anyone with private health insurance – BOOK NOW!!!