Whether you are a recreational athlete or a pro, there is always a risk of injury. It seems like professional sports, such as football, are plagued with constant injury each week, so we are taking a look at the most common sports injuries for pros and weekend warriors and providing some helpful tips for returning to sport faster and preventing injury.
Football fans and players, this one always hurts – physically and emotionally for your favorite team. The Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the ligament that helps to keep your knee stable. From jumping up and landing at an awkward angle, speeding up and slowing down quickly, or taking a hit from an off angle, you can strain and damage the ligament. When the movement is enough to tear, this leads to season ending injuries for many athletes and oftentimes surgery. Minor tears and strains can be treated with rest and ice. As your ACL regains strength, stability around the knee increases. However, for more severe tears where surgery is necessary, we recommend a pre-surgery strengthening regimen for the muscles and ligaments that support the knee, such as hamstrings and quads, along with a structured post-surgical rehabilitation program that focuses on returning you to sport. Check out our blog on ACL tears here. (link will be there).
Shoulder & Elbow Injuries
If you play a contact sport, your risk for shoulder and elbow injuries are far greater. That doesn’t mean average joe’s aren’t at risk! Shoulders and elbows are what takes the brunt of the fall when bracing for impact, so it’s important to always be careful whether you are a weekend marathoner or a pro footballer. Additionally, sports that require a repetitive motion, such as softball and tennis, may cause injuries to the area from overuse. Injuries such as tennis elbow and rotator cuff tears are very common in baseball, softball and even golf! So, how can you prevent shoulder and elbow injuries? Well, it’s important to strengthen the area. If you’re already feeling some strain and pain, we also recommend wearing a brace to support the impacted area. This helps provide the additional support to provide relief from the pressure on the injured area, consider adding a longer warm up and cool down period before activating these muscles and enrolling in a physical therapy program that focuses on strengthening these busy areas.
Hip Flexor Strains
Hip flexor and groin strains are extremely common among non-athletes and athletes. Your hip flexors are the muscles on the front of your upper thigh. These important muscles are used to help you raise your knee up and out away from your body, such as running, sprinting, walking, climbing stairs, running up or down hill and pivoting to stop and start running quickly. If you have a job that doesn’t require much standing, you may have weaker hip flexors, so it’s important to strengthen that area by moving more. If you experience a hip flexor strain, luckily, it’s very treatable! First, take time to rest. Then, as the pain subsides, you can begin a physical therapy program which helps strengthen the area, combined with massage to help relieve the tension. This may have you spectating from a few days to a few weeks, but these injuries are very common and treatable.
Preventing Injury with Physical Therapy
The potential for injury is a bit scary, but don’t worry – the physical therapists at Advanced Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy in North Jersey are here to help! Our staff is equipped and dedicated to helping you recover from your injury and get you back to your sport. Contact our office today to schedule your evaluation and meet with one of our therapists and certified sports trainers today. Call 973-616-4555 or click here to schedule.