It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional athlete or someone who only plays sports on the weekend, there is always a chance you can get injured. Once you’ve suffered a sports injury it can make you more vulnerable to re-injury and conditions such as osteoarthritis. There are many causes of sports injury, but the most common causes are accidents, trauma, repetitive strain and not warming up or stretching properly before exercise. While anything can happen while engaging in sporting activities, a few of the more common types of sports injuries are detailed below.
Sprains occur if you over-stretch or tear one of a ligament, which is the tough band of tissue that connect two bones together to provide them stability. The most common sprains are in the ankle and most often are caused by falling, twisting or trauma to the joint that can result from falling or running on uneven surfaces. Symptoms of a sprain include swelling, pain and bruising, limited movement around the joint and sometimes a popping sensation that is felt at the time of injury.
Tendons are the tough cords of fibrous tissue that connect the muscles to the bones. Strains occur with the muscles or tendons – most commonly in the legs, groin and hips – become overstretched or torn. Strains can happen suddenly or over time and can cause pain, swelling, bruising and limited movement, as well as tenderness and muscle weakness, spasms or cramping.
Achilles Tendon Tear
The Achilles tendon attaches the calf muscles in the back of the leg to the back of the heel. Although strong and resilient, the Achilles tendon can be vulnerable in sports that require quick forward and backward leg movements and jumping that can cause the Achilles tendon to rupture when the flexed foot sustains a sudden strong force and the calf muscles powerfully shorten. Achilles tendon tears can also result from tendons weakened over time by Achilles tendonitis.
The anterior cruciate ligament – the ACL – crosses inside of the knee, connecting the thighbone to the leg to provide stability to the knee joint. ACL tears are common in active people and athletes and are the result of slowing down suddenly from running, landing badly from a leap or jump, or rapid or sudden changes in direction.
The menisci are cartilage structures in the knee joint that act as buffers between the bones; as such they are vulnerable to injury and can tear during strong twisting motions of the knee, especially when the foot remains firmly planted on the ground and the knee is bent. Signs of a torn meniscus can include a popping noise when the meniscus tears, as well as swelling, pain and tightness which may increase over several days. With a torn meniscus, you may not be able to bear weight, walk properly or straighten your knee; you may also notice your knee buckling, catching or locking in position.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
The rotator cuff consists of four shoulder muscles and their tendons that cover the upper end of the arm bone to form a cuff. Rotator cuff injuries are a common source of pain and can result from either acute shoulder movements or chronic overuse. Because the tendons and muscles can degenerate and weaken, the risk of rotator cuff tears increases with age. Symptoms can include pain in the front part of your shoulder that can spread down the side of your arm; stiffness, weakness and difficulty moving your arm.
Fractures or broken bones can occur from direct impact or trauma, overuse, and conditions such as osteoporosis that weaken bones. Fractures can occur in any bone in the body but the most common bone breaks or cracks occur in the collar bone (clavicle), forearm, hip, wrist and leg. Occasionally a fracture can be mistaken for a severe sprain. If you suspect you have a fracture, seek medical care urgently.
A joint dislocation often occurs from a sudden blow, which can force the bones within a joint to abnormally separate. While dislocations can occur in any joint, the knee, shoulder, elbow, hip and fingers are the most vulnerable. The shoulder, in particular, can be subjected to repeat dislocations. For joint dislocations, emergency care will be required to put the joint back in place, followed by a few weeks of self-care, including immobilization.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful foot condition that occurs when connective tissue at the bottom of the foot, called the plantar fascia, is irritated or inflamed. The condition occurs among people who spend a lot of time on their feet and is common in runners. This condition can cause significant heel pain that is usually worse in the morning when you first wake up, following rest, or after being on your feet for long periods of time.
Shin splints is the term for pain that occurs on the front or inside edge of the shinbone. The pain is most frequently caused by muscle overuse, improper form when exercising, or wearing the wrong type of athletic shoes. Symptoms of shin splints include a dull aching pain on the front or inside of the lower leg that may worsen when you walk or climb stairs and first thing in the morning. Most cases of shin splints resolve with rest.
Comprehensive Care of Sports Injuries in Naples, Florida
If you have suffered a sports-related injury or would like more information about the services we provide, then call the Joint Replacement Institute today. We specialize in sports injuries and our medical experts are committed to providing personalized health care combined with access to the most advanced surgical procedures. We pride ourselves in offering a friendly and welcoming environment to our patients and aim to make each visit as comfortable as it can be. Call us at (239) 261-2663 or request an appointment online today.