Most athletes will experience at least one injury during their sports career. Each sport presents specific risks due to factors such as repetitive movements and overuse. Some sports injuries are more common than others. For example, these injuries are often seen across several different sports and occur frequently in athletes:
Here’s a closer look at what each of these injuries entails.
Knee sprains can occur when athletes may experience partially torn or overstretched ligaments. While this injury can occur in any ligament, it often happens in the medial collateral ligament (MCL), which runs along the inside of the knee, connecting the thigh bone to the lower leg. The MCL prevents the knee from bending inwards and can be injured during quick changes of direction, as well as bending and twisting movements. Sports that involve weaving, jumping, and stop-and-go movements are likely to cause the injury, which is why this knee sprain is common in basketball and pickleball players. Sprains can also occur when cartilage in the knee is inflamed, usually due to general wear and tear.
For partial ligament tears and overstretching as well as inflammation in the cartilage, therapeutic intervention can support a full recovery. Physiotherapists provide a tailored treatment plan which will encompass activities such as stretches and strengthening moves.
A degenerative intervertebral disc (herniated disc) in the lower back often causes compression on a spinal nerve root, leading to sciatica. Sciatica can affect the back, hip, and/or back of the leg. Pain associated with sciatica moves along the sciatic nerve and radiates from the back down to the hip, buttocks, and back of the thigh. In some cases, this pain radiates down the entire leg and even into the feet.
For athletes, herniated discs are often caused by improper stretching, excessive twisting and/or bending, and prolonged sitting. Thus, sciatica is most common amongst cyclists, as well as tennis, golf, and baseball players. Although it causes severe pain and numbness, it can often be healed without surgery. For example, physiotherapy from one of the best Sherwood Park Physiotherapy clinics has to offer can treat the pain, inflammation, and numbness associated with sciatica.
Hip Flexor Strain
The hip flexor is made up of the rectus femoris and iliopsoas (iliacus and psoas major muscles). It’s a group of muscles and tendons that enables you to bring your knees towards your chest and bend at the waist. Overuse, over-stretching, and weakness can cause strain and/or tearing. If your hip flexor is strained, you’ll likely experience pain, swelling (caused by inflammation), bruising, and muscle spasms. It’s one of the most common sports injuries, and minor cases can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications, but may worsen if left untreated. Hip flexor strain often occurs in players involved in sports that require sudden changes in direction and upward movements, such as hockey, soccer, and football. However, this strain is also often caused by a hard impact, stiff muscles, and a lack of warming up.