Guardian Carers Feature on BBC News London

5 Most Common Sports Injuries and how to prevent them

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1.5 million people end up in the A&E departments in the UK as a result of injuries related to sports and exercise. Sports injuries often sideline athletes and sports players. Sports injuries are very common in sports such as football, tennis or basketball.

Sports injuries normally start to heal within the first 72 hours. Usually, within the first moments of a sports injury occurring, the PRICE method should be applied. The PRICE method should be well-known by professional sports players or anyone who practices certain sports for fun or aspiring to play professionally. The PRICE method stands for protect, rest, ice, compress, elevate. Some sports injuries are more complex and further medical attendance would be required in order to help the athlete make a full recovery from the sports injury.

Here are some of the most common sports injuries and the ways to prevent and to treat them.

Knee Injuries

Knee injuries are some of the most common sports injuries. Many athletes end up injuring their knees, which can result in them being away from the sport for long periods of time. The knee is a very complex and complicated joint, which means that it can often be injured when playing sports.

Knee fractures are very common among sports players. Any of the bones in or around the knee can be fractured. Simple movements such as stepping the wrong way, falling or tripping can cause a fracture.

ACL Injury

Another commonplace sports injury is injury to the ACL, also known as anterior cruciate ligament. ACL injuries happen in sports which involve sudden stops or changes in direction, jumping or landing, such as football, basketball or downhill skiing. What typically happens with such as sports injury is that the ligaments on the inside of the knee are torn. Such a sport injury is often very severe and may require surgery. Some of the symptoms of ACL injury include instability when walking and turning corners, as well as increased swelling in the knee. However, in less severe cases, an ACL strain can be healed without surgery.

Shoulder Injury

The shoulder is the weakest joint in the body. It is also subjected to a great deal of strain in sports activities and it very often ends up being injured. Injuries in the shoulders are some of the most common sports injuries. Shoulder injuries occur due to a lack of flexibility and strength and can be anything from misalignments, dislocations, strains on muscles and sprains of ligaments.

Usually, the treatment for a shoulder injury starts with rest and icing the injured area in order to help with pain and swelling relief. The shoulder, being the most mobile joint in the body, it’s very prone to sports injuries. Athletes who are involved in contact sports will be more at risk of shoulder injuries.

Hamstring Injury

The hamstring muscles can be tight and susceptible to strain. This can lead to pulled muscles. Injuries in the hamstring are a cause of poor stretching techniques or even a complete lack of stretching before being engaged in sports.

Hamstring injuries range from acute muscle strains and ruptures to chronic hamstring injuries.

The most common hamstring injury is acute muscle strain. If an athlete gets such an injury, they are very likely to have a prolonged absence from sports. This sort of injury also has a high recurrence rate. Acute hamstring strains actually make up about 12% of all injuries in British football. Some studies have shown that almost 1 in 3 hamstring strains will happen again in the first 2 weeks after an athlete returns to sports.

Tennis Elbow Injury

Tennis elbow is also known as golfer’s elbow. This type of sport injury generally occurs in sports which involve a lot of gripping. This is due to the repetitive actions in some sports, the athlete’s forearm can become inflamed. It can lead to a lot of pain in the wrist and hand. Athletes usually complain of lacking grip strength.

The recommended treatment for such a sports injury involves lots of rest and having the inflamed area iced. If necessary, anti-inflammatory medication can be prescribed. Some athletes may also be required to wear a brace in order to relieve pressure from the area and prevent further injury to the area. Stretching can also help release stiffness in the area and build back strength.

No matter what sports injury you may have, it’s essential that you act fast in order to prevent further damage to the area. Remember to apply the PRICE method and seek further specialist assistance if the symptoms persist or worsen.

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