Physical fitness is a way of life unto itself in this day and age, and everyone is looking to establish a healthier lifestyle that involves greater levels of activity than they may have been used to in the past. This goes well for some, who are able to adjust to the added rigor with ease. However, not everyone is lucky enough to maximize the benefits while being able to avoid the potential pitfalls. Critical sports injuries can emerge. Nevertheless, all it often takes is some awareness of what to be careful about so that one does not place himself at risk when working out or seeking additional physical activity.
There are certain sports injuries that seem to befall more than most, but this is not uncommon given how much more engaged a person’s body is when it comes to sports. Instead of being discouraged from engaging in physical activity, a person should instead gain a better understanding of what these injuries actually affect and how they come about. This way, the risk factors are the ones that can be avoided in order to allow a person to enjoy the benefits of a sporty, active lifestyle without necessarily easily falling prey to these injuries.
Treatment for these injuries tends to focus on the use of the RICE method, which involves Rest for the affected joint, Ice and cooling packs to numb nerve endings and allow muscles to relax, Compression to aid circulation and bring more oxygenated blood to the affected muscles, and Elevation to similarly assist in speeding up circulation and keep the nerves from falling asleep. Depending on the severity of the injury, surgery or rehabilitation may come in later on.
critical sports injuries
Torn Rotator Cuff
The rotator cuff is a set of muscles in the shoulder area, which link the arm to the shoulder. We put this set of muscles through its paces more times in a day than we might realize. However, the painful symptoms are clearly felt – we may feel pain in the area at night, especially if the way we lie down when we sleep places out weight on the affected shoulder. Pain may also appear with specific movements, even ones as simple as lifting or lowering the arm. Weakness in the muscle may also make its presence felt, but most telling is the crackling sensation or crepitus when positioning your shoulder.
A torn rotator cuff tends to come about because of a number of factors which tend to have more pronounced effects with age. These factors may include repetitive movement – something that is admittedly seen in a lot of activities outside of sports as well. The repeated strain may lead to impingements that press tissue uncomfortably against bone, the formation of calcium deposits which can be particularly problematic and bothersome in the tendon area, and possibly even tears in tendon or muscle.
Knee Injury: ACL Tears
This is a fairly large umbrella for a variety of ailments in the area. Like the shoulder joint, the knee joint is one that has a lot of strain put on it on a daily basis and can lead to critical sports injuries. This can happen whether you’re the sporty type or not – and as such ailments like runner’s knee tend to befall people who don’t expect to find themselves anywhere near a marathon in their lives.
The ACL tear, a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament, can occur when a person lands badly, pivots awkwardly to change direction, or hits a sudden stop. All of these place sudden high impact on the knee joint and may lead to a popping sound followed by your knee giving out. This will be followed by painful swelling, tenderness, and a loss of range of motion in the affected area.
Knee Injury: Meniscal Tears
Similar to ACL tears, meniscal tears tend to be heralded by a popping sound followed by swelling and tenderness in the affected area. The tear occurs in the cartilage area in the knee joint. The menisci, two pieces of cartilage, cushion the joint and keep it moving stably and reasonably friction-free. Over the first few days of this specific injury, stiffness may set in, slowly reducing the ability to use the joint.
Hip Injury: Labral Tear
Like the meniscal tears in the knee, a labral tear involves a tear in the cartilage layer that cushions an important joint. This occurs in the labrum, which is cartilage that cushions ball-and-socket type joints such as the shoulder and the hip. Such a layer of cartilage is crucial to proper joint functioning, as it forms a stabilizing ring around the bony socket of the joint, letting the pieces fit without grinding against each other. A labral tear is usually detected when there is a “catching” sensation in the affected area, as well as pain. Initial treatment may involve medication and physical therapy, while advanced treatments may involve the removal of loose labrum and other fragments from within the joint and surgical repair.
Many other shoulder injuries can impede the full range of motion of the shoulder, such as when reaching upward. Other symptoms may include painful sensations in the area, as well as popping, catching or grinding sensations in the shoulder. Shoulder injuries causing these symptoms include the SLAP lesion (superior labrum, anterior-to-posterior), which is a tear above the middle of the glenoid socket in the shoulder going from front to back. Another is the Bankart lesion, a tear below the middle of the socket. These tend to produce the aforementioned pain and swelling, as well as a feeling of instability in the joint – a significant issue, considering how much we rely on it.
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