Our bodies are a complex structure of muscles, bones, tendons and connective tissue which, when all is well, work together in harmony to help us move in all the ways we want to. Unfortunately when one or more of these elements is not functioning at its optimum, for any kind of sport or physical activity – the risk of injury is increased.
5 Types Of Sports Injuries
Most sports injuries are the result of a sudden trauma or gradual damage to the Musculoskeletal System. This system comprises of the muscles, bones, joints (such as the hips, knees and ankles), ligaments (link bones to bones), tendons (link muscles to bones) and cartilage (covers joints allowing the bones to slide over one another) that allows us to move our bodies about. The most common types of sports injuries are:
Sprains. One of the most common sports-related injuries, sprains are the result of overstretching or tearing the ligaments, a good example here is a sprained ankle.
Strains. Slightly different from a sprain, strains can involve muscles, joints and/or tendons being overstretched or torn. A good example is a strained hamstring or an Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury (ACL).
Swelling. Swelling is the body’s natural reaction to an injury; it is often a warning sign that something is not right. Swelling can be a result of overuse, improper technique, or gradual trauma as well as the result of a sudden injury.
Fractures. Broken bones are a common occurrence in high-intensity sports such as mountain biking or horse riding. Stress Fractures are also common in sports people, they are less obvious and range from a tiny fracture to severe bruising within the bone.
Dislocations. High impact sports such as rugby sometimes result in dislocations. A dislocated joint is when the bone is forced out of its socket within the joint, shoulder dislocations are a good example.
7 Ways To Reduce The Likelihood Of Injury
Most people who engage in regular exercise or sporting activity will experience minor sports-related injuries from time to time. There are some sensible precautions that can all help to reduce risks of injury including:
Warm-Up Before Exercise. Before you begin any kind of exercise it is important to warm up your muscles and get the blood flowing.
Understand Your Limits. It is important to exercise within your existing capabilities, this includes taking into account current fitness levels and previous injuries.
Gradually Increase Difficulty Levels. It is important to increase your exercise levels slowly, doing too much too quickly is one of the biggest causes of injury. Do not over-train!
Work On Your Technique. It doesn’t matter what kind of sport you play; if you repetitively train with poor technique then the likelihood of injury is increased. Poor technique can be a big factor in overuse or gradual onset injuries.
Use The Right Gear. Ensuring you have the right kind of training equipment can make a huge difference to the occurrence of many injuries. For most sports the correct footwear for your foot is a vital part of any training regime.
Be Sensible. Running in the dark over uneven ground is not the most sensible way to train, neither is pounding the pavement for hours on end when choosing to run on a natural turf is possible – use your head when it comes to building up those training hours.
Don’t Forget Recovery Time. Always factor in recovery time after any games or training sessions. The muscles, tendons and ligaments need time to recover from the stresses and strains of intense activity, this includes the need to rehydrate and rest.
Healing From A Sports Injury
If you fracture a bone it will heal pretty well as long as it is fixed in place correctly. Bone tissue heals using calcium and other minerals drawn from the body in a process that creates a bond as strong as the original bone structure.
Treating soft tissue injuries however can be a little trickier. Your muscles, tendons and ligaments do not heal as efficiently as bone – essentially building what is known as ‘scar tissue’ to heal the wound. The problem with scar tissue is that it is weaker and generally less flexible than the original tissue leaving the area more susceptible to further injury.
Unless correctly diagnosed and managed, soft tissue injuries can lead to reoccurring problems, pain and reduced movement in the injured area. While painkillers and anti-inflammatories can help manage the pain and reduce symptoms they are not addressing the actual cause of the injury.
Seeking out the professional advice of an Osteopath who is specifically trained in how the body’s musculoskeletal system works together as a whole, is a good way to actually address the root cause of the issue and get some of the much-needed movement back into the area as it heals.
An Osteopath can help with injuries that have not fully healed post-surgery, ongoing injuries that never seem to go away, soft tissue damage after breaking a bone, in -act all kinds of injuries’ from any sports and fitness activities such as rugby, cricket, mountain biking, horse riding, football, netball, running, cycling, hockey, dancing and many more.
Suffering from old sports injuries that haven’t quite healed properly – your Osteopath can help! Contact Lorraine Herity at Better Health Osteopathy in Christchurch today. Call 027 7555700 or book online.
Lorraine Herity is the Clinic Director of Better Health Osteopathy in Christchurch, New Zealand. She previously worked in Osteopathic clinics in London and Ireland, before moving to New Zealand. Lorraine trained at the British School of Osteopathy in London, where she gained her Master of Osteopathy (M.Ost). Lorraine is a dedicated and passionate Osteopath. Her main aim is to help her patients regain their health, and to return her patients back to their everyday activities, in as quick a time as possible.