Athletic injuries can range in severity and you may not know you’ve actually hurt yourself until the next day when the adrenaline is gone. While simple injuries can be easily treated at home, if you have any doubts, you should immediately contact your doctor.
Different Types of Athletic Injuries
Different types of sports will result in different types of injuries. For example, a basketball player has a much higher risk of tearing a tendon or ligament, than a golfer. Someone who plays golf may be more prone to injuries like tendonitis that result in long-term, chronic pain.
- Strains and Sprains – Sports that require you to run, pivot, or jump increase your risk of sprains or strains. These injuries involve the overextension of muscles, tendons or ligaments, For mild cases, R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation) may be effective self-care. Physical therapy is a great way to maintain range of motion and strengthen the injured area. If the injury is severe, you will want to seek medical attention to ensure the joint is properly stabilized to allow for sufficient healing.
- Ligament Tears – Ligament tears often occur in the knee and are common in sports like baseball and football. Hyperflexion of the joint can result in not only anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, but other types of damage that may require surgery to repair. Self-care includes using the R.I.C.E. method and staying off the joint as much as possible until it heals. If the injury appears to be severe, seek medical attention immediately to prevent injuring the area further. Stress fractures are common sports injuries that mistaken for ligament tears and sprains. Don’t take chances! Visit your doctor!
- Tendonitis – Tendonitis is caused by performing the same movements over and over again. Pitchers, golfers, and tennis players often experience this type of injury in the elbow or shoulder joints. Again, R.I.C.E. and physical therapy are excellent for self-care, but if the pain continues to worsen after a few days, you will need to see a doctor. This ensures there are no tears or serious damage to the ligaments or tendons.
Signs You May Have a Serious Injury
Pain and inflammation are the first signs of an injury. If you notice grinding in the joint (especially the knee), the damage may be more extensive than just a pulled muscle. In most cases, a mild injury will begin to feel better after a day or two. If the pain continues to worsen or you notice that your range of motion has dramatically decreased, you should make an appointment with your doctor. Any time that you don’t notice improvement, there is a risk of serious damage. Instead of putting it off and hoping the injury heals itself, you will want to seek medical treatment.