As You May Have Experienced, Sports Can Hurt!
Participating in any type of sport comes highly recommended by healthcare professionals as a way of keeping yourself healthy. To maintain a balanced lifestyle, playing sports brings a batch of social activity into life. It can also be good fun, too!
However, the other side of that isn’t always so happy. For all of these welcome gains from sports, physical activity also increases our risk of injury.
From landing awkwardly in a fall to trying to lift a weight beyond our ability, accidentally colliding with another athlete or forgetting to do post-training stretches, there are numerous ways that sport can hurt.
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Physical Therapists Possess Expert Knowledge on Sports Injuries
Physical Therapists frequently assist patients who’ve accumulated a painful reminder of an exercise session gone wrong.
Despite the sheer variety of sports, as well as training techniques and individual athlete ability, there are certain sports injuries that are seen over and over again.
In this two-part blog, we continue the countdown of the top 10 sports injuries seen within our Cardin & Miller Physical Therapy clinics …
Of the many sporting injuries we see here at Cardin & Miller, handling the consequences of concussion happen least often but, when required, the provision of suitable treatment is very important.
The term concussion covers a range of temporary physical and mental impairments that result from a sudden, sharp impact to the head.
Impacts such as these are common within contact sports such as football, rugby and hockey, accounting for almost 4 million reports of the injury annually in the US.
A sudden impact to the head causes the brain to be thrust against the skull, usually causing a temporary loss of consciousness as well as damaging the tissues that hold the brain in place.
Afterwards, concussion can present as a variety of problematic symptoms for some time post-impact.
These usually include headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, impaired coordination and blurred vision.
Difficulty in sleeping while also being unusually sensitive to light and sound are also common.
In more severe cases, someone’s speech may become slurred alongside evident confusion, problems with memory, anxiety, mood swings and seizures.
Each patient’s experience of concussion tends to be individual, resulting in treatment that needs to be specifically tailored to fit problems as and when they arise.
Not only can they can work on any physical injury that has occurred within the neck and upper back, Physical Therapists are also experts in tackling problems with balance and co-ordination as well as visual difficulties.
Treatment may include massage therapy as well as oculomotor exercises to retrain the visual system.
There will likely be a progressive reintroduction to movement and exercise, comprising mainly of stretching and strengthening movements, while working to keep any uncomfortable symptoms that may result (e.g., nausea and dizziness) to a minimum.
Although care has to be taken when reintroducing exercise, the increased blood flow and stimulation of protein formation that results helps to regain full cognitive function.
Throughout, your Physical Therapist will closely monitor how you’re improving overall.
From an athlete’s perspective, a Physical Therapist can greatly assist in maintaining fitness and condition in a safe manner while recuperation from a concussion takes place.
Broken Collarbone/Clavicle Fracture
A broken collarbone, also known as a clavicle fracture, tends to occur most frequently within two different groups of people.
Those who are older and prone to an accidental fall or athletes who participate in either a contact sport or activity that could involve an unexpected and hard fall (e.g., a cyclist falling off their bike).
Touch the skin between the neck and shoulder and you will feel the collarbone running horizontally between these two points.
The collarbone works to stabilize the arm and shoulder as they move.
If you’ve broken this bone, chances are you’ll know as soon as you have the offending impact for there will be considerable pain in this area as well as notable difficulty moving the arm on the affected side.
Bruising around the collarbone and shoulder will likely accompany the injury in addition to swelling, numbness or tingling sensations.
If you require surgery for the broken collarbone, you will likely to be prescribed to come to physical therapy upwards of 12 weeks.
A Physical Therapist will begin with a comprehensive assessment combined with some initial pain management techniques.
This will then likely develop into hands-on therapy of the muscles and joints as well as your therapist guiding you through a series of stretching movements to ease tension within the upper arm, neck and shoulder that may have formed due to your restricted mobility.
As your recovery progresses, your Physical Therapist will work with you on some functional training in-order to re-develop strength in your upper arms, shoulders and core.
In time, you will likely work through these same motions but with resistance bands as these will counteract the improvement you’re making, helping to build further strength into the area.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
If your favored sport uses a good deal of upper body strength and overhead motion, you’re likely to have heard fellow competitors grumble about the problem of a rotator cuff injury.
This is much more common in older athletes and among those who frequent enjoy sessions of tennis, swimming, golf, weight-lifting or basketball.
The rotator cuff is a group of soft tissues that sit around the shoulder joint, serving to keep the upper arm firmly located within the shoulder.
Symptoms of an injury to the rotator cuff include pain within the front of the shoulder as well as down the outside of the arm, an inability to reach up, a feeling of heaviness in the affected arm and possibly a clicking sound whenever the arm is moved.
Another common complaint is a dull ache within the shoulder while resting at night.
Symptoms vary, depending on whether inflammation is the root cause of the problem or a more drastic tear.
Where significant damage has been incurred to the rotator cuff, surgery may be required prior to work beginning with a Physical Therapist.
When it comes to tackling rotator cuff pain, Physical Therapy has an impressive success rate of up to 80%.
Not only will a Physical Therapist be able to pinpoint exactly where the problem within the rotator cuff stems from, they will also be able to structure a very precise recovery program.
This will usually begin with basic movements that aren’t too strenuous to eventually performing complex sequences and working with weights.
This will aim to improve both the flexibility and strength around the shoulder as well as within the core muscles.
Finally, before a return to your sporting activity of choice, a Physical Therapist may assess your technique and provide guidance on how best to avoid a further rotator cuff injury.
Contrary to this sporting injury’s misleading name, tennis elbow is not only experienced by tennis players but anyone who repeatedly uses their elbows, wrists and hands in their day-to-day activities.
Tennis elbow is a painful condition that results from overuse of the muscles in the arm and forearm, affecting your ability to both grip and carry objects.
Tennis players who develop the condition do so because of the repetitive strain of repeated backhand strokes.
Elsewhere, the condition can develop due to inflammation of a bony bump known as the epicondyle or either degeneration or tearing within the tendons that connect to the elbow.
The pain that results from tennis elbow is commonly felt in the elbow as either the wrist or hand is moved.
This is frequently accompanied by stiffness within the elbow and weakness from the elbow downwards towards the hand.
In severe cases, you may be referred to a health care provider for surgical intervention or a cortisone injection.
However, in the majority of cases, Physical Therapy is able to offer a comprehensive solution to tennis elbow.
This will begin with some initial pain relief via alternating between hot presses and ice treatment as well as gentle exercise to reduce any tension that has built up within the soft tissues.
A Physical Therapist may then incorporate some manual therapy combined with more challenging movements designed to build muscle strength in the affected areas.
This will likely include the core muscles, back and neck as well as those within the affected arm.
Knee injuries are renowned for spoiling an athlete’s day as well as keeping Physical Therapists busy!
Despite being both the largest and strongest joint within the body, the knee is also highly prone to injury.
This is partly thanks to the knee’s complexity, partly because of the substantial forces that go through the knee and partly because of the many sports that offer opportunity to injure the knee.
Athletes from many different sports suffer from knee injuries, ranging from football, rugby and tennis players to runners and those who like to ski.
Generally, a sport that involves a good deal of sudden stops, twists and turns is a window of opportunity for knee problems to potentially develop.
Knee dislocations are common in sports such as football, soccer, gymnastics and the long jump.
Repetitive friction can cause knee bursitis and this is commonly experienced by long-distance runners.
Sudden impacts to the knee, usually causing a patellar fracture, are particularly problematic and can cause permanent damage if activity continues.
In addition to the knee joint itself, the tendons around the knee can become overused in scenarios where frequent jumping or landing occurs.
This condition is known as patellar tendonitis and is frequently ignored by an athlete until the pain becomes too much to bear.
A particularly noticeable knee injury is a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
This can occur when landing incorrectly from a jump or during a sudden collision, resulting in intense pain, swelling and a very unstable knee joint.
This injury is most frequently seen in football or soccer tackles and requires immediate medical attention.
These are only some of the possible injuries that can be incurred by the knee.
However, regardless of which specific knee injury an athlete has acquired, a Physical Therapist has the necessary skills to implement a rehabilitation plan of pain relief, hands-on therapy and structured exercise to counteract the damage that has occurred.
Get Help With Your Sport Injuries
Understanding physical structures within the body, how and why they go wrong and how to remedy discomfort is what a Physical Therapist excels at so you would be in very good hands when it comes to tackling a sports injury.
Being well-versed in the strengths and weaknesses of the human body, a Physical Therapist can precisely diagnose what injury you’re dealing with as well as formulate a personalized rehabilitation plan to get you back into the field and giving it your all in sport as you did before.
Our specialized team at Cardin & Miller Physical Therapy are waiting to help you.