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Common Sports Injuries and How to Treat Them
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Playing a sport is a great way to make new friends, burn off energy, and have fun. However, you need to use caution before each game, no matter which sport it is. Learn the proper ways to stretch in order to keep your muscles healthy and less prone to injuries. Protect yourself with the correct equipment as well or you can get seriously hurt. This guide goes over some common sports injuries and the best way to protect yourself from them, as well as how to treat them should they occur.

Hamstring 
If you complete in sports that involve lots of running or jumping, you may be susceptible to hamstring injuries. The hamstring consists of three muscles that stretch along the back of the thighs. Without this, you would not be able to bend your knees. When the hamstring is strained, you will feel intense pain in that area, often described as a burning and tightness in the muscles. You may have trouble walking or bending your leg as the swelling interferes with your mobility and your body tries to guard the area by contracting the muscles tightly about the injury. Severe cases may even result in torn hamstring muscles, which cause extreme pain and should be diagnosed and treated by a doctor immediately. In order to prevent hamstring strains, you need to warm up before each game or practice. Stretching out the muscles beforehand will help them stay loose enough to stretch that far again should the game require it without causing dangerous levels of strain. Treatment involves anti-inflammatory medication (which can be prescribed or taken over the counter), resting, and icing the area until the pain goes away. Torn hamstrings typically require surgery to fix.

Tennis Elbow 
Despite its name, tennis elbow isn’t unique to tennis players. Any sport that has repetitive motions involving stress on the tendons in your elbow can cause this condition, such as weight lifting, fencing, or squash. Even typing can cause tennis elbow, especially if your elbows are often resting below your hands. If you have tennis elbow, you will have tenderness and pain around the outside of the elbow since this is where the tendons connect to the bone. This is caused by repetitive motions, such as the swinging motions in tennis or even the point and click motions from using a computer mouse. Because it is caused by repetitive stress, the two keys to preventing and treating this condition are rest and strength. Take frequent breaks to give your elbow a chance to relax during games or repetitive activities, and if you have it already, talk to a physical therapist about exercises you can do to help strengthen your elbow. Giving it rest and building up the strength of the tendons and muscle will prevent the inflammation that causes those tears in your tendon, and help it heal from already present damage.

Teeth 
Sports like football require that you wear a mouth guard, and for good reason. While teeth are made of incredibly strong material, they are quite susceptible to breaks, fractures, or even being knocked free under strong impact. If you get hit in the mouth, you could end up with chipped, cracked, or missing tooth. In this case, you could need to see a dentist to repair the tooth for you. The dentist will fit you with dental veneers which will cover the chipped tooth. Cracks can be covered or filled to strengthen them if necessary, as well. If the tooth is knocked free entirely, it can actually be put back in place if you quickly retrieve it and put it in a fatty, cold liquid like milk, or if possible, put back into the mouth and pressed into place by clenching your teeth together. Then you would immediately seek out an emergency dentist, who can help determine if the root can bond again to the jaw and gums, or else fit you with a dental implant that works and looks exactly like the lost tooth. Even if your tooth doesn’t appear damaged, it may be necessary to see a dentist if you feel continued sensitivity after several hours, as there may be swelling that is cutting off circulation to your tooth. Believe it or not, your tooth needs blood to survive or it will die and turn black, requiring replacement. If you have suffered impact to your mouth and your tooth remains sensitive, see a dentist so they can determine if your tooth is in danger of dying help you save it. It’s best to avoid this situation entirely, however, so make sure you properly cover your teeth in any sport that could cause damage to your mouth. 

Concussion 
Not only do you need to protect your mouth, but you also need to protect your head. Football players wear special helmets to do just that, but they don’t always work. A concussion is a common sport injury that results when the brain is knocked about within the skull. This can happen when your head is knocked against something, like during a fall, or even from whiplash. Whiplash occurs when your body is swiftly jolted so fast that your brain can’t keep up, resulting in the same impact against the skull as if your head had been physically hit. Just a few of the symptoms of a concussion include confusion, dizziness, vision issues, dilated pupils that won’t contract when exposed to light, ringing in ears, or even unconsciousness for a brief moment. A doctor will base treatment depending on which grade the concussion is determined to be. Recovery usually takes a few days, during which you should do nothing but rest in order to allow your brain to heal. If you suspect you may have a concussion, it is important that you don’t drive until you are completely healed, as your reflexes and depth perception may be compromised.

Playing sports is a lot of fun, but suffering from sport related injuries is not. Always do a warm-up routine before practices or games. A cool-down routine is also recommended after the practice or game is finished, so that your muscles don’t tense up from the strain they’ve been under. Be aware of the dangers any physical activity may pose on your body, especially if done frequently, so you can take preventative measures to maintain your health. It is also very important to be aware of how to take care of yourself in an emergency, so make sure you’re keeping informed before you play rather than after disaster has already occurred.




By Marlena Stoddard
All rights reserved. Any reproducing of this article must have the author name and all the links intact.

Marlena Stoddard

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Biography: Marlena is a freelance writer.

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