Playing sport as an adult is a brilliant way to stay fit and socialise with others. A morning in the local park playing a game of football or a couple of rounds of tennis can help relieve your stress, have fun, and bring the competitive edge to your weekend.
Although, sports and exercise is fun, it can sometimes result in injuries. Many of the injuries sustained can heal themselves, but some that are more serious will need special attention. Many athletes have preventative strategies in pace to ensure they minimise the chances of getting injured.
But, you cannot prevent all injuries, training your weakness and playing sports smart can help. Taking a few precautions and understanding how some injuries occur can benefit you and might further down the line.
We have compiled 5 of the most common injuries adults can get while playing sport and how to prevent them so you can stay active and enjoying your sport.
1: Muscular strains
Muscular strains are one of the most common injuries within sports. Most are not usually serious and will heal with adequate time and rest.
A muscular strain happens when the muscle is stretched beyond its limit. Tw of the most common are the hamstrings and groin muscles, especially in sprinting athletes.
Preventative Strategy: Ensure to warm-up before playing any kind of sport, progressive warm-up from small movements to game-like movements. This will ensure the muscle is fully prepped before playing the chosen sport. Long-term, it would be ideal to strengthen and mobilise some of the regions of the body to ensure they are at an efficient level to part take within the sport.
2: Sprained Ankle
Sprained ankles are common in sports and day-to-day life, it is usually a minor injury but dependant on how severe can put the athlete out for some time. The mechanism of a sprained ankle can happen when the foot rolls inwards straining the ligaments on the outside of your ankle.
Many sprained ankles will heal over time, but will remain weak if the rehabilitation has not been done correctly by the athlete. If the client has sustained a high ankle sprain, this should be looked at by a heath care professional.
Prevention Strategy: Ensure you apply the PRICE, ensure to be careful on uneven surfaces. Ensure to follow the exercise prescription for your rehab as will minimise the chances of reinjuring. In the earlier stages, you may want to wear tape to help with stability issues, but long term you should strengthen the ankle ligaments.
3: Knee Injuries
There are variety of injuries that can around the knee joint, some from repetitive strain which can be easier to rehabilitate to ACL injuries which in severe cases could need operating on. Here is a brief overview of both:
Patellofemoral syndrome, is also known as runner’s knee. It is a common injury among runners both athlete level and beginners. Runner’s knee is an overuse injury that happens when the tendon below the kneecap becomes inflamed.
The ACL tear can be a very serious injury. The ligament plays an important role of stabilising the knee joint, it can get damaged by sharply pivoting or an external force hitting the knee. A lower grade ACL injury/strain can be treated with rest, but it must be known that a complete ACL tear is a serious injury that will require surgery and rehabilitation to heal.
Preventative strategy: Runner’s knee can typically heal on its own and with the correct exercise prescription. If you do start to feel pain just below the kneecap, you should decrease load i.e. running time. Wearing supported trainers or buying some insoles can help avoid runners knee or even try running on a softer surface. Cross-training can be beneficial as you can continue to exercise and increase your stamina but can rest your knee i.e. swimming. Performing exercise that strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee can really help too! Flexibility of both the quadriceps and hamstrings can benefit you too, this will help to maintain symmetry.
4: Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is an unexpectedly common injury. It can affect your forearm, elbow, and even your wrist, and causes pain when you bend your wrist backward. As it is a repetitive strain injury, it tends to occur in athletes who perform frequent swinging motions, like tennis players. It is often common in builders who use drills and shop assistant who are pushing items through their till.
Prevention Strategy: You can relieve tension by having massage on the muscles surrounding your elbow. Also strengthening the muscles can allow them to work harder for longer durations.
5: Shoulder Injuries
Shoulder injuries in sport are very common and make up 20% of sports injuries. There is a lot of injuries that can happen at the shoulder joint. One of the most common injuries to happen at the shoulder joint is rotator cuff injury. The injury happens in sports that involve throwing or having arms over head. Overuse to the shoulder muscles can lead them to becoming inflamed and potentially resulting to shoulder impingement, and if damaged even further could lead to a tear. When shoulder injuries occur, the main reason is often a lack of strength, stabilisation, or mobility.
It’s important to strengthen all the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint and improving mobility. The stronger and mobile the joint is, the more chance performance will increase while chances of injury will decrease.