As you step into fall this year, you might be excited to be the starting player on your school's football team, or just ready to enjoy some scenic bike rides. However, as you engage in physical activity this fall, it's important that you be on the lookout for common sports injuries. Fall is one of the busiest times for sports medicine doctors, as athletes and outdoor adventurists alike sustain injuries. If you want to prevent sports injuries this season, you'll have to take some precautions to avoid getting hurt. That's why we've listed the top five fall sports injuries, along with our top five sports injury prevention tips.
1. Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis is a common condition that affects the Achilles tendon, a large rope-like structure that connects the heel to the calf muscle. The Achilles tendon is responsible for helping the foot and ankle move, and it bears a lot of weight and stress with each step. Over time, this constant strain can lead to inflammation and microtears in the tendon, resulting in pain and stiffness. Achilles tendonitis is one of the most common injuries among runners, but it can also occur in people who are active in other sports or who do not stretch regularly.
Some things you can do to prevent injuries like Achilles tendonitis are:
- Warming up before exercise - Warming up before you engage in any strenuous activity can help prevent injuries by loosening up your muscles and tendons. You can warm up by doing some light cardio or dynamic stretches, such as leg swings.
- Regular stretching - Stretching your calf muscles and Achilles tendon regularly can help keep them flexible and less likely to become injured.
- Wearing proper footwear - Wearing shoes that fit well and provide adequate support can help reduce stress on the Achilles tendon.
- Avoiding sudden increases in activity - If you're starting a new exercise routine, be sure to increase your activity level gradually to give your body time to adjust.
If you do experience pain in your Achilles tendon, rest and ice can help to reduce swelling. In severe cases, physical therapy or surgery may be necessary, so be sure to reach out to a sports medicine doctor.
2. Hamstring Strains
Hamstring strains are especially common among athletes who participate in sports that require sudden bursts of speed or sprinting, like football players and track runners. A hamstring is a group of muscles that extends from the hip to the knee, and these muscles are responsible for helping the leg bend. A hamstring strain occurs when one of these muscles is overloaded or stretched beyond its capacity, resulting in pain and tenderness.
You can prevent hamstring strains by performing stretching exercises, getting a good warm-up in, and wearing the proper equipment. Stretching exercises can help to increase flexibility and range of motion, making it less likely for the muscle to be strained. Warming up before physical activity can help to loosen the muscles and reduce the risk of injury, so be sure to spend at least 5-10 minutes doing some light cardio or dynamic stretches. Finally, wearing the proper equipment can make all the difference in injury prevention. Football players, for example, can wear proper cleats to help prevent the risk of injury. Wearing supportive shoes that fit well can also help to prevent hamstring strains.
By taking simple steps to ensure your safety, you can avoid straining your hamstring. If you believe you have a strained hamstring, it's best to seek medical care as soon as possible.
3. Knee injuries
Knee injuries are a common occurrence in athletes, particularly those involved in high-impact sports such as football, soccer, and basketball. The knee is a complex joint that is vulnerable to injury when it is overextended or subject to sudden impacts. The most common types of knee injuries include strains, sprains, and fractures. To reduce the risk of sustaining a knee injury, it is important to use proper technique when participating in sports. Additionally, proper stretching and warm-up exercises can help to prevent knee injuries. Wearing protective gear, such as knee pads or braces, can also help to reduce the risk of sustaining a serious knee injury. If you are unsure if you've sustained a knee injury, speak to a sports medicine doctor about your symptoms.
4. Shoulder injuries
The shoulder is an extremely important part of the upper body, and injuries to this area can be very painful and debilitating. There are many different types of shoulder injuries, but the most common are strains and sprains. Strains happen when the muscles or tendons around the shoulder joint are stretched or torn, while sprains occur when the ligaments are damaged. Both types of injuries can be caused by repetitive motions, sudden impacts, or falls. Some of the most effective ways to prevent shoulder injuries include warming up before physical activity, using proper form during exercises, and avoiding excessive overhead motions. Another way you could prevent shoulder injuries is to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint with strength-training exercises. By taking these precautions, you can help keep your shoulders healthy and injury-free.
5. Ankle Sprains
Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries, especially among young athletes. A sprain occurs when the ligaments that support the ankle are stretched or torn. Although most ankle sprains are minor injuries that can be treated at home, more serious sprains may require medical attention. In severe cases, surgery may even be necessary to repair the damaged ligaments.
There are several ways to reduce your risk of suffering an ankle sprain. First, always warm up before participating in any physical activity. This helps to loosen the ligaments and prepare them for the stress of exercise. Second, wear supportive shoes that fit well and provide good arch support. Finally, avoid participating in activities that put you at risk of rolling your ankle, such as hiking on uneven terrain or playing basketball on a poorly maintained court. By following these simple precautions, you can help to keep your ankles healthy and avoid a painful sprain. If you have sprained an ankle, be sure to reach out to a sports medicine doctor for treatment.
Sports injuries are very common, however, they are preventable as long as you take the right steps to protect yourself from injury this fall. If you have sustained a sports injury, don't hesitate to seek treatment. Dr. Brian Kelly is an orthopaedic surgeon who would be happy to help you relieve your symptoms. Whether you've got a sprained ankle or need shoulder surgery, Dr. Brian Kelly and his team of professionals will get you back in the game in no time. Schedule your appointment with Dr. Brian Kelly, MD today for comprehensive sports medicine care.
Dr. Brian Kelly, MD. is an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine doctor experienced in treating a variety of injuries. Dr. Kelly and his expert team of physicians will make sure that you get the treatment you need to get back in the game. If you have sustained a sports injury, schedule an appointment at the offices of Dr. Brian Kelly today.