The physical demands of playing sports often take a toll on our bodies. As athletes, you’re encouraged to give your best in every performance and push your body to the limit. In our quest for peak performance, we often end up pushing our bodies too far and sustain injuries.
Soft tissue injuries are the most common injuries suffered by athletes. If you engage in sports or workout at the gym, it’s likely that you may have experienced the horror of a side strain or a sprained ankle at some point.
In the US, one-third of all injuries sustained in childhood are sports-related, in which the most common are soft tissue injuries. Here are 3 common soft tissue injuries sustained in sports and how you can treat them.
Strains refer to injuries to muscles or tendons, generally caused by excessive force or overuse. Athletes that engage in contact sports like soccer and football are at high risk of strains as they are prone to overextending and putting their joints under severe stress.
The most common areas affected by strains are the hamstring muscles and lower back. Discoloration, swelling and bruising are all signs that you may have suffered a strain.
Depending on the severity of the strain, initial treatment includes rest, ice, compression and elevation. Although it’s recommended that you see a professional after suffering a sprain, you can treat the injury at home. However, severe strains may require surgery.
Sprains are caused by a stretch or tear of a ligament. For athletes, almost every part of their body is at risk for sprains due to the intensity of sporting activities. In fact, research suggests that sprains are the leading cause of injury in the NFL.
Areas of the body that are most vulnerable to sprains include wrists, knees and ankles. Inability to bear weight, discoloration and swelling are warning signs that you may have suffered a sprain.
Athletes who are poorly conditioned and play on poor surfaces are at a higher risk of suffering sprains. Similar to strains, treatment for sprains also includes rest, ice, compression and elevation. However, for mild to severe cases, physical therapy is highly recommended.
The rigors of contact sport put athletes at risk for contusions. Contusions are bruises caused by repeated blows that crush underlying muscle fibers. They can cause severe pain, excessive swelling and limit the range of motion near the injury.
Most athletes treat contusions by following the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) protocol, but doctors also recommend anti-inflammatory medicines for pain relief.
As athletes, you risk injury every time you train and compete. It’s a part of sport that you have to embrace while still taking proper precautions every time you compete. ProMove PT Pain Specialists offers physical therapy in Bethesda to treat soft tissue injuries.