With welcome news that spring is upon us once again, many of us are planning on getting outside more and enjoying the beautiful weather afforded to us by this beloved time of year. We’re taking to the sidewalks, the streets, the courts, and the sports fields for some exercise, and we’re ready to be more active after a long winter.
With this newfound energy and desire to be active, however, sports injuries always seem to be more common this time of year. And while there is a nearly limitless number of diagnosable sports injuries, we’re highlighting the top five you should be aware of this spring.
Common Running Injuries
The term “sports injury” doesn’t just apply to injuries that happen while you’re playing a sport. In fact, sports injuries occur frequently among people who like to run in their free time.
Runner’s knee is perhaps the most common sports injury among runners, and it can be one of the most debilitating because of the pain it causes. This injury occurs when a person’s kneecap becomes misaligned, and over time, this can lead to the cartilage on your kneecap to begin wearing down.
Although there’s no one way to prevent runner’s knee completely, ensuring you’re wearing the right running shoes, working to strengthen your hips and quadriceps, and stretching before and after running are all good ways to limit your injury risk — for runner’s knee or otherwise. Even more important than these steps, however, is to always give your body enough time to recover after long runs, and stop running if you start feeling pain in your knee.
Whether you play a few sets every now and then or you play competitively, tennis is a fun, social way to get some exercise on a sunny day. One injury to watch out for if you do enjoy this sport, however, is called tennis elbow.
Tennis elbow is caused by overuse of your elbow’s tendons due to repetitive motion in your wrist and arm. You don’t have to be playing tennis for this to happen, though, and people in certain occupations or those who partake in other sports or activities that have repetitive motions are more at risk for developing this condition.
Though this injury usually causes pain on the inside of the elbow, it can also lead to pain and weakness in your entire arm and hand — making it difficult to do normal motions like shaking hands or even opening doors.
Ice, ample rest, and over-the-counter pain relievers are usually all it takes to overcome this condition. But for those with more severe pain and weakness, it can sometimes require more corrective treatment to help condition the body to be able to undergo these movements.
Although it’s very similar to tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow is slightly different in that it usually causes pain on the outside of the elbow rather than the inside. It’s not something that affects only golfers, and even tennis players can get it, too.
Similar to tennis elbow, this condition causes pain and weakness around the elbow and throughout the arm. Additionally, golfer’s elbow can also make your arm feel stiff or give you sensations of numbness or tingling in your fingers.
As with any type of overuse injury, rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers usually help to reduce swelling and improve range of motion over time. More significant pain or loss of ability should compel you to talk to your doctor immediately.
When you sprain the ligaments around the joint of your big toe, it’s called turf toe. This sports injury is most commonly associated with football players, but it’s something that also affects athletes who play soccer, basketball, and more.
Turf toe is most commonly caused by a single, sudden event such as when a person’s foot bends too far forward, but it can also be caused by smaller, repetitive sprains over time. Typically, this injury leads to pain, swelling, and a more limited range of motion for a person’s big toe.
Although it may not sound like that big of a deal, turf toe is a condition that can make it extremely difficult for an athlete to make cuts or jump during play. Moreover, this type of injury can linger for an extended period of time, especially if you don’t take the necessary steps to recover. A doctor may recommend more significant levels of prevention and treatment depending on the severity of a person’s turf toe, but usually, rest, ice, compression, and elevation are the keys to treatment.
Shoulder, Elbow, and Hip Bursitis
Bursitis is a condition that can affect athletes, runners, and everyone in between, and it’s most commonly found in the shoulder, elbow, or hip, but it can also occur around other joints as well.
Much like tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, bursitis is usually caused by repetitive motion that inflames the fluid-filled sacs (known as bursae) that help cushion the bones. Although it may not always feel as immediately debilitating as runner’s knee, tennis elbow, or golfer’s elbow, bursitis will often cause swelling, make your joints feel achy or stiff, or cause pain when you apply pressure on a specific joint.
Resting the affected area is the best way to heal and feel better, but more serious cases can cause more long-term, chronic flare-ups or disabling pain. In the latter instances, you’ll want to talk to your doctor about treatment options.
Where to Get Treatment for Sports Injuries in Charles County
Whether you’ve found yourself dealing with a serious case of runner’s knee or you’re struggling with a sprain, expert treatment designed to help you get better more quickly is nearby. UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation specializes in treating a wide variety of physical injuries, including sports injuries.
UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation’s experienced team will design a personalized plan for your condition and work with you one-on-one to reduce pain, improve your range of motion, and get you back to doing what you love sooner. Conveniently located in La Plata, this practice comes fully equipped with everything needed to help athletes — or anyone suffering from a sports injury — overcome their injuries. And this team is now offering telehealth appointments for those who can’t or don’t feel comfortable visiting in-person.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment at UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation, call (301) 609-5494 today.