The Most Common Sports Injuries – What they Are & How to Treat (and Prevent) Them

Think sports injuries are only for athletes? The good (?) news is that everyone from weekend warriors to your neighbor out for a walk can suffer a sports injury – just like a cruise, they’re all inclusive (but much less fun)! The most common types of sports injuries, according to data from WebMD are sprains and strains. While they may not sound like much, they can ruin your weekend and take you out of your usual routine pretty quickly if you don’t take action. We tell you how to treat, and even better, prevent the most common sports injuries.

What are They?

Sprains and strains are caused by tissue like ligaments and muscles stretching or pulling too far, and sometimes even tearing. You can sprain your ankle by playing soccer and turning the wrong way, or just by stepping off the curb wrong when you’re walking the dog. Similarly, you can strain your hamstring playing softball on the company team, or if you overdo it working in the yard over the weekend. If you end up with a sprain or strain, your biggest concern will be treatment and healing.

Treating a Sports Injury

For a mild suspected strain/sprain, you can try at-home treatment: icing the affected area, wrapping for support, elevating it if necessary, and resting. Some sports injuries should be left to the pros; if your sprain/strain seems to be worsening, isn’t getting better, or you’re unsure of what to do – don’t hesitate to see a professional. A physical therapist can be your front-line treatment for any sports injury. Many people don’t know they can make an appointment directly with a physical therapist; the physical therapy office will work with both your insurance and doctor’s office if a referral for more visits is necessary. The physical therapist can assess your injury and will design a custom treatment plan based on your individual needs, lifestyle, and goals. S/he can also help guide you in preventing another sports injury!

Preventing a Sports Injury

Many sprains and strains-type sports injuries come from overdoing it; think the weekend warrior who goes out and runs five miles after a mostly sedentary winter season. You can avoid overuse injuries by pacing yourself; increase your workouts slowly and listen to your body. If you feel tired and fatigued, don’t keep going and risk injury – when your body is fatigued, your form suffers and your risk of injury rises. Some people also aren’t properly warmed up before beginning a strenuous activity, which means they’re at a higher risk of injury. By incorporating an appropriate warm up session with both static and active stretching, you can ensure your body will be ready for activity. Finally, some people perform the same activity, repeatedly, with bad form – which is eventually a recipe for injury. By learning correct form and strengthening weaknesses, you’ll help keep yourself injury-free. This is another way a qualified physical therapist can assist you: s/he will watch your movement and address any issues with balance, movement, form, etc.

Need help with a common sports injury? Trying to stay injury-free? Call Body One Physical Therapy. We’re locally-owned with four locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis, South Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. Ask about our programs designed specifically for injury prevention! One of our team members will tell you what program and provider might be right for you: call today.