Avoiding The Worst Sports Injuries!
The possibility of sports injuries applies to everyone. You never know when a play is going to go wrong or a when something unavoidable is going to happen. For the most part, over time, we heal. We get better. But sometimes we face the risk of re-injury, months of hard work is lost to rest, or worse, you don’t ever fully recover. The best bet is to do everything you can to try and make sure these injuries don’t happen in the first place.
Articular Cartilage Injury
The frictionless cartilage at the ends of your bones is extremely hard to replicate which makes it very hard, if not near impossible, to get you back to where you were before the injury. An imperfect repair can lead to arthritis, recurrent swelling, and catching-and-locking-type symptoms.
The Fix: Keeping off extra pounds and working out daily is the best – and only reliable – way to lessen your chances of articular cartilage problems. Also, beware of supposed protective supplements like chondroitin, since they often don’t work.
Rotator Cuff Tear
Approximately 50% of people over 65 have some kind of rotator cuff tearing. It’s seen by many experts as a natural part of aging. Sometimes these painful problems can be treated with physical therapy. If the injury does require surgery, be assured it is a fairly successful one.
The Fix: Working on the muscles around the shoulder is just as important as working on the muscles around the rotator cuff to prevent rotator cuff tears. Try cable-strengthening exercises, like rows.
Achilles Tendon Tear
Both surgery & therapy are ways to attack an Achilles tendon tear, but it can still be devastating. The operation itself is not difficult, but the rehab process is a long on and in some cases, a full recovery may not be possible. A six- to nine-month recovery time -– Kobe Bryant’s was more than seven months -– is fairly standard.
The Fix: This one is hard to prevent because most people who tear their Achilles tendon have no prior symptoms. Genetics and activity level are big factors but cross-training with elements of yoga, biking or running may help.
These injuries are frustrating. In sports where there are a lot of cutting movements, soccer, for instance, this injury is fairly common. For the most part the hamstrings repair themselves, if the injuries are not aggravated. People generally feel better after 2-3 weeks of recovery time, but they should wait more like 4-6 before attempting to perform activities like they use to. If not, they can end up with lingering pain for many months or even a year.
The Fix: Flexibility will be a big help in avoiding this one, especially as people get older. Basic foam-roller stretches are probably going to give the best results.
Elbow tendonitis is also on this list is because it’s frustrating. Although you can start to feel better pretty quickly, an important part of recovery is to progress back to your activities slowly. Just because the pain is gone doesn’t mean you are ready to go play a full round of golf.
The Fix: A good way to keep from getting tendonitis is to steer clear of any heavy lifting where your arms are positioned far away from your body. Exercises like that put too much stress on your elbow and shoulder. Gentle stretching can also help ease elbow pain.
Although an uncommon injury for the average athlete, the groin pull is a brutal one. This is an injury you will never be able to shake. Once you get it, you will continue to get it chronically.
The Fix: Flexibility is key. Start with hip stretches and then work on strengthening your core, which can also decrease the risk of groin strain. Using an ab wheel or doing planks are recommended over classic sit-ups because those can put unnecessary stress on your back.
About 200,000 people tear their anterior cruciate ligament each year, leading to some 100,000 reconstructive surgeries. This injury will take you out for about 6 months or more and, after surgery, as many as one in 20 people suffer another rupture. Repaired ACLs in one knee also increases risk of injuring their other knee.
The Fix: Hamstring, quad and calf exercises and stretches have long been advised but may not be enough. Doctors specifically advise hamstring curls, leg presses and hip abductor strengthening.