Sports injuries are extremely common, with figures estimating that amongst the younger population alone, over 3.5 million children and teens are injured each year as part of organised sports or physical activity. This does not even account for unreported injuries. Given their prevalence, it is important that we understand why injuries are more common amongst athletes and those that regularly participate in sporting activities so that we can prevent and treat these accordingly.
A sports injury can occur as a result of several scenarios, including accidents, impact, insufficient training, improper equipment, lack of conditioning, or poor warming up and stretching, to name a few.
Although joint injuries represent the most common site of damage, accounting for both sprains and strains, any part of your body can get injured during physical activity. When we exercise, a significant number of our muscles and tendons are involved; therefore, the chances of developing an injury are much greater. Moreover, especially during competitive sporting activities, we tend to stretch our bodies and push ourselves farther than we usually would, resulting in us moving in ways that we often wouldn’t. Although this can be harmless, in some instances, this leaves our muscles and tendons torn, damaged, and in pain.
In athletes, the above factors are exacerbated, with the most common sports injuries amongst this population being:
- Strains: A strain is defined as an injury to either a muscle or a tendon that primarily results from overuse, force, or stretching. The severity of the injury depends on the nature of its cause, with strains ranging from a simple overstretching of the muscle or tendon to a partial or complete tear.
- Sprains: Alongside strains, sprains represent the most common type of injury across all sports, being especially common amongst athletes. A sprain is characterised by a torn muscle or ligament that results from overuse or excessive force, whether that be a collision, a fall, or other causes.
- Knee injuries: Damage to the knee joint is most common in contact sports and is usually caused by a sprain, strain or tendonitis. There are a vast number of different conditions that may result from an injury to the knee, including ACL tears, MCL/LCL ruptures, runner’s knee, IT band syndrome and jumper’s knee, anterior knee pain, and patella-femoral maltracking.
- Fractures: The most prevalent fractures seen amongst athletes are fractured wrists, hands, collarbones, and bones in the ankle and feet. The highest rate of fractures is seen in contact sports, such as football and rugby.
- Tennis elbow: If you experience persistent pain around the outside of your elbow, you may be suffering from tennis elbow. This injury primarily results from overuse of the forearm due to a repetitive or strenuous activity; however, it may sometimes occur following force to the elbow.
- Plantar fasciitis: Do you have pain in the bottom of your foot? Or around your heel and arch? This may be plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain and arises following inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot, connecting the heel bone to the toes. This injury is most common in endurance athletes, such as runners.
- Back injuries: It is estimated that 80% of UK adults experience back pain at some point during their lives. Back pain is most common in athletes that participate in sports that have frequent hypertension of the lumbar spine, including gymnastics and football. The primary issue with back injuries is that athletes can cause strain to other parts of their bodies if they change their techniques to reduce the pain experienced.
- Concussion: Injuries to the head and neck represent the most frequent catastrophic sports injury, with concussion being the most common athletic head injury. In the UK, an estimated 8.5% of all concussion-related hospital admissions are of sporting origin.
At Opus, we treat a range of sports injuries with our novel techniques, including elbow, hand and wrist sports injuries, shoulder injuries, foot and ankle damage, knee injuries, shin splints and stress fractures, hip sports injuries, neck and back pain, and sprains and strains. Contact us today to discuss your needs and how we can assist you on your journey.