With the Rugby World Cup 2015 in full swing throughout England and Wales, it’s appropriate to discuss the most common sports injuries not only sportspeople receive but even the ones we receive when casually playing sport like rugby, football, hockey and tennis. Finding the right treatment to can be difficult to diagnose yourself, so this brief introduction to the top five strains, sprains, pulls and injuries in sport and how to treat them should help you assess the damage you’ve done playing sport.
Hamstring Strain, a common injury for footballers
We’ve heard of many a famous footballer pick-up hamstring strains and whilst it’s the most common injury, it’s one of the simplest to protect yourself from. Warming up the hamstring by gently stretching and exercising your legs into your routine will help protect the hamstring from injury. Over-exerting yourself during exercise can cause hamstring strains so ensure you’re fully warmed up before pushing your hamstring to it’s limits. If you do suffer hamstring strain (which are the tendons at the back of your thighs, which attach to the large thigh muscle), you’ll notice pain at the back of your thigh and at worse bruising or swelling can occur in extreme tears – a pop in some circumstances can also be felt. First of all rest your leg, apply ice with compression through bandages to the affected area and elevate your leg to reduce swelling. After a few days of recovery, slowly try to introduce gentle exercises to test how your hamstring is. Getting professional help from physiotherapists can help speed up your recovery to get you back to playing sport.
Shin Splints, a likely injury for runners and dancers
Runners are most likely to suffer shin splints. It’s a general term for a variety of issues in the shin area which could be down to strained muscles, muscle weakness, stress fractures or ‘overpronation’ which twists the arch of your foot after impact with the ground. You’re likely to get shin splints when running on different terrain or pushing your workout too far, causing pain in the shin area. You can do several things to treat shin splints at home, including resting (obvious we know), again applying ice will reduce any swelling, changing your footwear to something more comfortable and supportive, as well as gentle exercises and if necessary support straps or bandages. Physiotherapy will help you assess the extent of the injury and provide tailored exercises to reduce the recovery stage.
Ankle Sprains, common injury with tennis players
Ankles are very delicate and pushing them to extremes when exercising or playing sports like tennis or football can cause sprains to the ligaments surrounding the ankle. Usually a sudden twist of the ankle when playing a tough tennis return can stretch the ligaments too far or even in the worse case scenario see them pop, or tear. Treatment wise, we’d advise keeping your weight off the ankle and resting it immediately after the injury. Strap an ice pack (frozen peas from the freezer are just as good) to the ankle to alleviate the swelling, along with bandaging or a suitable brace to keep your ankle in the same position will also help. If you need professional advice about your ankle strain, one of our trained physiotherapists can help assess and provide a suitable workout routine to aid your recovery.
Knee Injuries, a familiar injury for rugby players
For a sportsperson, knee injuries are the most worrying injury since it’s such an intricate part of your leg and can lead to many complications, which can often lead to retirement from a sport unless you’re prepared to undergo surgery. Whilst major impacts on the knee can be a worry for rugby players and footballers in professional sport, for the average sportsperson knee injuries are most likely to be less career threatening twists, tears, heavy bruising or fracturing of the knee cap. Like many of the treatments listed above, assessing your knee injury damage quickly can lead to effective treatment and recovery. If it’s not too painful or serious, a combination of rest, ice, compression, elevation and gentle exercises can help depending of course on the diagnosis. A good physiotherapist can help diagnose the best treatment for your knee injury but also help you avoid further damage to the knee and more long-term complications.
Groin Pull, a common injury for many sports
Pulling or straining one of the five groin muscles can happen either suddenly or gradually over time and even when you think you’ve recovered from one can reappear if not completely healed. A tear in an adductor muscle (which surround the groin) can happen when sprinting or even kicking a ball awkwardly. Warming up all of your muscles in the body beforehand can prevent groin pulls from happening. If you suffer from a groin strain, the best thing to do is apply ice to the groin and strap the area as best you can – neoprene groin supports are probably easier to use in this situation. After resting and you feel more comfortable stretching your groin, try gradually doing some slow, gentle exercise to move your groin. Professional sports massage will help release any tension in the area and allow the blood to flow quicker to heal the groin tear.
Treating Sports Injuries in London
If you have a torn muscle, ligament damage, pulled muscle or any of the sports injury symptoms we’ve discussed in this article, we’d be happy to help provide sports massage therapy or physiotherapy in one of our London clinics in Bow, Chigwell, Harley Street, Woodford and Waterloo. Our friendly and knowledgeable physiotherapists will talk you through their assessment and provide expert care and rehabilitation. Please telephone us on 020 3369 8577 or send us an email via our contact page and we’ll happily book you an appointment.