Athletes go to extremes to transform their bodies into well-defined machines to be the best of the best. The purpose of training and practice is because when competing, brawn, agility, and skill determine who takes the glory home with them. However, because of the intensity and the repetitiveness of training required to compete, athletes often find themselves performing with aches and pains due to chronic injury. While injuries can be prevented, chronic injuries resulting from a previous injury can be managed so that the pain is reduced.
Regardless of the sport, all athletes run the risk of having these types of injury just because of the various ways in which the body is stressed or comes into contact with others during play. Chronic injuries usually happen after playing a sport or working out after a long period of time. These injuries differ from acute ones in that the person experiences pain when playing or working out, experiences a dull pain when resting, and swelling appears in the affected area.
Common injuries that athletes experience include ankle sprains, groin pulls, hamstring strains, shin splints, torn ACLs, knee injuries, and tennis elbow. A number of approaches can be taken to treat these injuries. To reduce swelling and pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be taken for most injuries. Another approach is to rest the injured area until the pain is gone. Rest is also a great and common way to recover from injury, but when the athlete competes professionally, they do not have the luxury to rest for long. In this case, depending on the severity of the injury, surgery or rehabilitation might be more appropriate. In the case of torn ligaments and tendons, surgery is definitely required. When scar tissue grows as a result of injury, the area becomes stiff, which requires rehabilitation. Other therapies that sports medicine doctors might prescribe for athletes include electrostimulation, cryotherapy, thermotherapy, sound waves, and massages. Sprains and broken limbs require the affected area to be placed in a cast or to be immobilized.
Common injuries in popular sports
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries: This injury appears in high-demand sports ranging from basketball, soccer, football, volleyball, and rugby to figure skating, gymnastics, and skiing. Those participating in low-demand sports such as cycling, track and field, and swimming also see this type of injury. Of all of the injuries, ACL injuries are the most severe and usually require surgery.
- Groin pull: Hockey, soccer, football, and baseball players experience groin pulls most often. These injuries can be treated by wearing compression support. In fact, today’s competitive sports demand that compression socks, in addition to a list of other compression gear, be a part of most athletic ensembles. Also, placing ice on the affected area and resting are common ways to treat this injury.
- Knee injury: Runners and volleyball and basketball players often have these types of injuries. The cure includes doing low-impact exercises in combination with working out the quadriceps.
- Tennis elbow: This condition is usually seen in tennis players and golfers, and happens as a result of the repeated swinging, whether it is a tennis racket or golf club. This condition can be cleared up with rest.
For all of these conditions, the best way to approach healing an injury properly is by being patient enough to wait for the body to heal itself. Trying to play on an injury is not only painful, but in some cases, it also exasperates an already strained muscle, ligament, or tendon, so waiting for the body to heal properly is the best cure for chronic injuries.
Prevention is probably the best way to approach the threat of injury while playing. Good practices that support conditioning and strength while preventing injury include stretching muscles and warming up and cooling down before and after playing and training. Avoid overtraining or overexerting yourself in the effort to attain perfection. More importantly, do not exasperate an injury by continuing to play on it. These preventative measures can be applied to playing and training for all sports.
Playing sports, competitively or not, is a great way to expend calories and stay in shape, as is having a normal workout routine. However, an irony with injury is that a person can look great and play expertly but experience pain because of chronic injuries that plague those devoted to sport and fitness. While prevention is the best remedy for injury, chronic injury can be managed and controlled in a number of ways so that the inner Olympian from within can emerge, compete, and win at any sport, all without pain.