The thrill of victory, the pride of playing with a team, the high of setting a personal record, and the agony of defeat. There are so many emotions and reasons we love sports, but there’s also another set of feelings that can take it all away. The disappointment and frustration of a chronic injury or fear and dread after a sudden twist or pop that takes you out of the game. Injuries are simply a part of playing sports.
Experts have found that up to 90% of student athletes experience a sports injury during their career. Even casual runners and basketball players hitting their local court can end up injured. A CDC analysis found that about 8.6 million sports- and recreation-related injuries occur every year. But most sports injuries don’t doom you to the sidelines for good.
Have you recently suffered a sports injury? If so, come see our team at Steven E. Nolan, MD. Dr. Nolan is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with over 20 years of experience and has received numerous top-surgeon awards during his career. Here, he discusses sports injury prevention, the most common sports injuries and their treatment options and how to recover and get back out there.
The best injuries are the ones that never happen. Many injuries occur when athletes don’t take the right steps to make sure they're ready to play. To start, know where you are as an athlete. A former varsity quarterback probably won’t be able to throw 50-yard touchdowns after taking a few years off, and you should pace yourself when it comes returning to a sport or starting a new one. Other preventive measures include:
Additionally, listen to your body when it’s telling you it’s had enough. This applies to fatigue, overuse injuries, and dehydration among other things.
If you follow any professional team, you know there are more possible injuries than you can count. However, some injuries happen far more frequently. Some of the most common sports injuries that you may suffer include:
Sports injuries fall into two categories, acute and chronic. Acute injuries happen suddenly when you're actively participating — fractures, disclocations, and sprains fall into this category. Chronic injuries, also known as overuse injuries, develop over time and include inflammation and some muscle tears.
The first step in treatment is to stop immediately when you feel pain. There is no honor in playing injured. For most non-severe injuries, you can rely on the RICE method:
For more severe injuries, you may need to look into prescription pain medications, physical therapy, and/or surgery. Dr. Nolan specializes in minimally invasive arthroscopy, a surgical technique that puts less stress on your body than open surgery and can speed up diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.
The key to recovery is taking things slowly. Don’t try to do too much too quickly because you can delay recovery and may re-aggravate your injury. While you should start movement as soon as allowed, make sure you go gently — your range of motion should increase as pain decreases.
Also, don’t forget mental recovery. Keep perspective as you work back from injury and see if you can improve your game with other parts of your body. Find ways to stay involved with your team or sport while sidelined to keep your passion alive. A full rehabilitation takes both your body and mind.
To learn more about sports injuries and how you can get back in the game, request an appointment online or over the phone with Steven E. Nolan, MD, today.