Any time that individual steps onto a field, out to the track, or even into the gym, they will risk injuries. Many times, it is nothing more than safety gear, common sense, and planning ahead that will remove the chance for severe injuries, but accidents can and will occasionally happen. This is why everyone with an active lifestyle should understand a few of the most common injuries, how they can be prevented, what to do when they do take place, and when it may be time to listen to the aches and pains.
A sprained ankle has always been one of the most common sports and fitness injuries for a variety of reasons. Typically cause by jumping or landing incorrectly, an ankle sprain is any damage to the soft tissue or ligaments around the ankle. The pain is typically sharp at first but quickly transitions to a dull throb with a limited range of motion, slight discoloration, swelling, and the inability to put weight on the foot. The best method to deal with a sprained ankle is the R.I.C.E. method, which includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation. As the pain subsides, it is important to slowly transition back into one’s training with non-impact options such as a stationary bike while wearing an appropriate ankle brace.
Plantar fascitis is the result constant pressure on the feet without proper support in the majority of patients. Those engaging in long runs or hikes will often feel a sharp sensation of pain on the arch of their foot when the tendon becomes too strained. Wearing thick socks and adequate shoes is the most effective preventative method for this condition, but those that have begun to feel pain should immediately put a halt to their training and only carry out an extensive foot and leg stretches until the pain subsides.
Any sports or activities that require running, kicking, or jumping will immediately make hamstring pulls a real possibility. As with most strains and pulls, the most effective method to prevent this injury is thorough stretching before any physical activity and caution during the activities. A hamstring pull can be described as a sharp pain on the back of one’s leg just below their knee with the inability to put weight on the leg. The only remedy for a hamstring pull is time as the injured individual will need to first let the hamstrings rest and then slowly build back their muscle with isometric exercises.
Tennis elbow is a generic term given to any damage around one’s elbow that is the result of overuse. Obviously, tennis is the primary sport in which this injury occurs, but it can also be the result of almost any repetitive action such as throwing a ball. Both treatment and prevention involve strengthening of the shoulder muscles, strengthening of the arm, proper form, and large segments of stretching before and after any physical activity. If left untreated, tennis elbow can result in permanent damage to the ligaments and will require surgery.
While many of these injuries may be extremely common within the realm of sports and fitness, which does not necessarily, mean that every health enthusiast must endure them throughout these activities. It is often some of the smallest changes to one’s routine, the gear they wear, proper form, or even sufficient nutrition that will make all the difference.