Anyone playing sports can encounter an injury, from beginners to professionals. Sports injuries are very common, but thankfully, there are many ways to help prevent injuries. Treatments are also coming along in their effectiveness and efficiency. See below for the many different injuries one may encounter and how to treat them.

Shoulder

Many people can get injured in their shoulder whether they play sports or just clean up the yard, shoulder injuries seem to be the biggest culprit when it comes to orthopedic visits.

Many different activities can affect the shoulder joint during sports including but not limited to:

  • Volleyball – The repeated arm motions while overhand serving and spiking a volleyball can result in rotator cuff tears if done too often or incorrectly
  • Swimming – Repeated overhead motion in swimming strokes can cause painful inflammation in the muscles of the shoulder
  • Baseball or softball – The constant throwing motion, especially at excessive speeds, can cause inflammation, or even tears if done incorrectly

Rotator cuff tears, strains, and other pain can occur for many different reasons and may eventually lead to shoulder arthritis over time. Arthritis may become irritated, simply from using the joint in repetitive motions, such as in the activities listed above as well as simple yard work duties at home.

Treatment for Shoulder Sports Injuries

There are many different types of shoulder injuries, however, most of them respond well to physical therapy exercise programs that help regain range of motion as well as strength of the joint. Some of the more severe injuries may require surgery which will lengthen recovery time depending on the type of injury and type of surgery used to treat the injury.

Knee

Many knee injuries occur while playing sports, starting new outdoor workouts, or just from an increase in activity. The knee is one of the most complex joints in the body, made up of bones, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, and tendons; with so many different components working together, like a machine, a small injury to one part of the knee can lead to some major issues and complications.

There are four main knee injuries one can endure including:

  • ACL Tear – The ACL is one of the four ligaments in the knee that provides stabilization to the joint
  • Patellar Tendonitis – Also known as jumper’s knee, this condition is characterized as the inflammation of the patellar tendon, which connects the knee cap to the shin bone
  • MCL Injury – An MCL injury occurs when the ligament that runs on the inside of the knee is strained from an outside impact. This ligament provides side-to-side support to the joint
  • Meniscus Tear – The meniscus is tough, rubbery cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between the shin bone and thighbone

Sports, such as soccer, baseball, and football, tend to be some of the biggest sports contributors to knee injuries; whereas cardio activities like biking, running, and skateboarding can have long-term negative effects on the knees as well. Repetitive use and movements can lead to pulled muscles and overall fatigue, leaving the knees vulnerable to injury.

Treatment for Sports-Related Knee Injuries

Due to the very complex nature of the knee joint, surgery is typically the best option for any of the injuries listed above. The exercise program through physical therapy after surgery is extensive and will take time to help the knee fully recover to normal strength and mobility.

Elbow

There are many different injuries one may encounter in the many activities listed above and more. Elbow fractures and dislocations are common due to falls, accidents, and other mishaps. However, the elbow may see some overuse injuries including tennis elbow, pitcher’s elbow, and golfer’s elbow. Although the names of these injuries appear to be sports-related, people can develop these issues even without playing sports.

There are many different activities people may participate in when it comes to sports. Those which may affect the elbow include but are not limited to:

  • Tennis Elbow – The most common racquet-related injury that occurs when the tendons that attach muscle to bone deteriorate
  • Pitcher’s Elbow – The result of the excessive throwing motion
  • Golfer’s Elbow – The degeneration of the tendons that attach to the inner elbow

Treatment for Elbow Injuries

Similar to the shoulder, elbow injuries can get better with non-surgical treatments, however, the more severe an injury is, the more likely surgery will be required to achieve full recovery. One of the most common injuries in baseball would require a surgery called “Tommy Johns Surgery” where the tendon in the elbow is repaired due to a tear. There are many different treatment options depending on each patient.

Prevention of Sports Injuries

Sports are a great way to meet new friends, stay in shape, and enjoy your hobbies, so it’s important you don’t spend most of your time on the bench. You must take care of your body and do your best to prevent injuries. Below are some suggestions to help keep your sports participation fun:

  • Warm Up – Loosening up the muscles in your body before and after any type of exercise will make all the difference. You are far less likely to tear or strain a muscle when the muscles are prepped for the activity and warmed up for movement
  • Proper Form – Form is one of the most important things when it comes to any sort of physical activity. It may be helpful to hire a trainer or coach if you feel you need help with your form
  • RICE Therapy – If you feel pain or discomfort in any area, stop the activity and practice this therapy; Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Resting gives the body time to heal, ice and compression will help reduce swelling and tension, and elevation will help with swelling, pain, and throbbing

Over-the-Counter Medications – Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen can help reduce swelling and pain along with RICE therapy