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Types of Sports Injuries: Causes and Advice



Low side plank twists are a rotator cuff workout that strengthen shoulder stabilizer muscles.

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5. Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow

  • Cause: Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow do not just affect tennis players and golfers. Any athlete or professional who uses their forearm muscles repeatedly and regularly can suffer. Both are a result of tiny tears in the muscle caused by inflammation of the tissues around the elbow. Tennis elbow pain is felt on the outside of the elbow. Golfer’s elbow creates pain on the inside of the elbow.
  • Prevention: Surprisingly, lack of mobility in the wrist and shoulder are often culprits of elbow pain. Include wrist and shoulder warm-ups, activation, and mobilization exercises in your normal workouts. Consider doing them before any activity that requires repetitive arm movements, like gardening or typing on a laptop.
  • Treatment: An injured elbow can get better with time and rest. Cold compresses during moments of pain help reduce inflammation as does a diet of anti-inflammatory foods. A physical therapist may also provide wrist, elbow, and shoulder exercises. In very bad cases, surgery may be required to remove damaged tissues.(6

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Caption: Stretching the shoulders and wrists before a workout can help with elbow pain.

 6. Groin Strain and Sports Hernia

  • Cause: Sports hernias are clinically named athletic pubalgia. These and general groin strains are most common to athletes who change direction quickly, tennis players. Sports that require frequent twisting and bending (like rowing) can also cause groin strains. These injuries are more typically related to overuse. But, any biomechanical pattern could cause these injuries. For instance, many people have one leg that’s longer than the other. These kinds of muscle imbalances can cause problems throughout the kinetic chain that put pressure on the groin during movement. Long-distance runners, women with relative osteoporosis, and anyone with nutritional and hormonal imbalances are also susceptible to groin injuries.
  • Prevention: The best way to prevent any injury around the pelvis is with hip stretching and stability exercises. Lower and deep core work are very beneficial. Getting to know your own muscle imbalances is important. Then, you can train in such a way as to strengthen opposing muscles and correct postural imbalances. Because having strong bones is a big precursor to a healthy pelvis, proper sports nutrition is key (i.e., enough calories, enough macronutrients, and enough micronutrients). Finally, changes in the training surface or shoes can cause groin strain. Start with shorter workouts when venturing out onto new terrain or wearing new shoes.
  • Treatment: Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid intense physical movements until the pain subsides. Because issues in the groin and pelvis are so difficult to diagnose, most cases require sports physiotherapy.  The sports physician will determine the rehabilitation plan based on the location of the tear. Some types of injury require rest, while others require more aggressive movement therapy. In the worst case scenario, surgery may be required.(7, 8, 9

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Single leg bridges are a great way to strengthen the muscles of the pelvis and low back.

7. Hamstring injury

  • Cause: Hamstring tears and pulled hamstrings most often occur when one pushes off the ground to walk, run, or climb. For folks with very weak or tight hamstrings, this injury can even occur when standing up from a seated position. Any one of the three hamstrings muscles may be affected. Older adults are more likely to suffer from hamstring injury than young people.
  • Prevention: The best way to prevent hamstring issues is by training them with strength and flexibility workouts. Simply exercises like deadlifts and seated forward folds go a long way.
  • Treatment: Hamstring pain is difficult to treat because it affects so many basic actions, like moving from seated to standing. It can heal on its own with rest. But in case of intense pain, walking with a cane or crutches helps. Icing the area and wrapping it can keep inflammation down. Consider working with a physiotherapist if the pain does not subside on its own in three weeks. With physical therapy, the recovery time typically takes six to eight weeks.(10)

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Moving in and out of this stretch is a dynamic warm-up for hamstring mobility.

Nutritional Advice for Sports Injuries

When recovering from a sports injury, one of the best things you can do is eat well. Here is a list of micro- and macronutrients that can aid in recovery. We recommend eating whole, fresh foods containing these nutrients.

1. Protein-rich foods

Protein, especially that derived from mammals and fish, enhances the body’s muscle-building processes (vegan protein sources should be supplemented with amino acids like Lutein).(11)

2. Vitamin C

Collagen rebuilds tissues and is anti-inflammatory. Citrus fruit and leafy green vegetables are rich in Vitamin C, which helps the body to produce collagen. 

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and building blocks for the body’s cellular recovery processes. Salmon, sardines, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans are all-natural sources of Omega-3 fats.

4. Calcium and Vitamin D

Fractures, dislocations, and sports hernias are all related to weak or impacted bones. Calcium builds bones. Milk, cheese, yogurt, some fish, almonds, and kale are all great sources of calcium. But without Vitamin D, the body cannot absorb calcium. So eat some egg yolks or go for a jog in the sun! Both fill you up with Vitamin D.

Prevention is The Best Medicine

Unfortunately, most athletes will at some point find themselves injured. It’s part of being alive, of having a complex body and love of movement! But the best way to prevent an injury is to be thoughtful about movement, health, and body awareness. Cross-training, taking time to recover, eating well, and listening to your body are, ultimately, the best medicine for sports injuries.

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