There are so many things to love about playing a sport. You get to challenge your body, build strength, be part of a team, and work hard to accomplish your goals! Unfortunately, the potential for reward usually does not come without risk.
If you educate yourself and pay attention to your body, you can avoid most of the countless injuries that can occur while playing a sport. It’s important to be aware of a few of the most common issues though, so you can readily identify them and get the help you need to put you back in the game!
1) ACL Tear
The ACL—anterior cruciate ligament—is one of the major stabilizing ligaments in your knee. Strain or tearing of the ACL occurs most often in sports that involve sudden stops and cuts in movement, such as basketball, soccer, etc. It happens when an athlete slows down and tries to quickly change directions.
ACL strain can usually heal successfully with simple rest and ice. A complete tear, however, is going to require surgery and intense physical therapy, often putting you on the bench for weeks. If you hurt your knee during a sport and feel a pop sensation, followed by pain, swelling, and instability when walking, you may have an ACL injury.
2) Achilles Tendinitis
You know that thick cord of tissue at the back of your ankle? That’s your Achilles tendon. It connects your calf to your heel and helps you walk. Achilles Tendinitis is characterized by pain in your heel or calf when walking or running, swelling of the area, and tenderness or stiffness.
Issues with the Achilles tendon are most common in runners, especially if you wear the wrong shoes or fail to stretch properly. It’s essentially a result of overuse and repetitive strain. You may also notice Achilles Tendinitis pain if you suddenly increase the amount or intensity of physical activity you engage in.
3) Rotator Cuff Injury
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons in your shoulder that stabilize the joint and help it move. Like Achilles Tendinitis, rotator cuff injuries are a result of constant, repetitive motion. It’s particularly prevalent in athletes who use a lot of overhead movement during their sport—swimmers, tennis players, and baseball players most commonly.
An injury to the rotator cuff is signaled by a dull ache in the shoulder, pain when lifting your arm or moving it behind your back, and swelling. If you also find you’re having trouble sleeping without pain as well, specifically when you lay on one side, you’ve likely done some damage to it.
Sometimes accidents happen, no matter how well-educated you are about the risks of your sport—and that’s okay! Just make sure you don’t wait until your pain gets worse to seek help for your sports injury.
The trained professionals at CT Physical Therapy Care are on your side. We’ll work with you to identify the problem and tackle it head on. Contact us to learn more about our services and start your recovery process today!