You don’t have to be a paid athlete to get seriously hurt. A sports injury is any injury that occurs while exercising or playing a sport, whether it’s a friendly game of soccer with some buddies or a professional NHL hockey game. Watching our favourite sports team on television has taught us that sports injuries are common and can be quite severe. If left untreated, they can cause long-term health issues, so it’s important to see your Ottawa sports injury physiotherapist to discuss treatment. Here are three common sports injuries and how to avoid them:
#1: Sprains and Strains
A sprain occurs when the ligaments in the joint are suddenly and accidentally torn or twisted. A very common example is an ankle sprain, which generally happens in sports where a lot of jumping or close contact with other players (and their feet) are involved. Sprains are extremely painful and cause almost immediate swelling of the area.
To avoid sprains:
-Wear proper footwear
-Stretch before you engage in physical activities
-Improve strength around your joints through exercise
A muscle strain is a common exercise injury. Often our muscles get strained from improper use of exercise equipment, such as lifting weights that are too heavy, doing too many reps, or executing movements with bad form. Strains are common in people who are new to certain equipment, but it can happen to anyone.
To avoid strains:
-Warm up before you start working out to prepare your muscles for strenuous activity.
-Choose appropriate weights that aren’t too heavy. Discomfort is normal, pain is not
-Stretch after your workout.
-Ask your physiotherapist about the proper use of weights and good form while exercising.
#2: Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis is more than just sore feet after a long walk. The pain is intense and the recovery can be long. People often associate plantar fasciitis as an ailment of the elderly, but it’s a sports injury that’s common for people who are on their feet all day long or who walk or run great distances, such as dog walkers and athletes. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia ligament that connects your heel to your toes, and which supports your arch, is strained. The pain starts at the heel and then eventually creeps into the rest of your foot, making it extremely painful to walk.
To avoid plantar fasciitis:
-Check your shoes. Even if they’re high-quality running shoes, they may be worn out or don’t support your arch properly. Buy new shoes and custom orthotics that provide proper support.
-If you’re a runner, try jogging on softer terrain, such as grass or on a treadmill.
-Take care of your feet. After a day of walking or running, soak your feet and keep them elevated.
-Don’t forget to stretch.
#3: Tennis Elbow
Not just for tennis players. Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, occurs with constant and repetitive use of your wrist and forearm muscles while holding on to something, such as your tennis racket. Overusing our arms causes the tendons to become inflamed, which leads to pain and discomfort. Tennis elbow is not just an injury for athletes. Many professionals whose jobs require repetitive wrist & arm motions can also suffer from tennis elbow, such as carpenters, painters, and plumbers.
To avoid tennis elbow:
-Warm up and stretch before and after physical activity.
-Learn the correct techniques, i.e. how to swing a racket.
-Strength-train your muscles to better support your joints.
-Take it easy and don’t over-exert yourself.
If you’re suffering from a sports injury, we can help. You don’t have to live in pain any longer—contact Pro Care Physiotherapy in Ottawa to discuss treatment with an experienced sports injury physiotherapist.