Sports often result in sprains and injuries to our joints, ligaments, and muscles. Ligaments are the tough bands that connect our bones with one another in a joint. A sudden stretching of these ligaments past their limit causes deformation and/or tears in them. These strains or sprains are injuries that inflame and cause our muscle fibers or tendons to swell. We often refer to strains as “pulled muscles” for the simple reason that they are a result of over-stretching or overusing of a muscle or tendon. Ligaments and muscle-tendon units act like springs and as stress is applied to them the tissue lengthens. It usually returns to its normal length unless it gets pulled too far which is out of its normal range. This is what results in sports injuries of the most common types.
- Knee Injury
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) holds your leg bone to your knee. Sudden stops or jerks or getting hit from the side can badly strain or tear your ACL. This condition can take a turn for worse if you hear the joint make the “pop” sound. In case you suspect an ACL injury, understand that you have the most severe of sports injuries and that it will require a surgery if you wish to remain physically active.
- Knee Injury
Patellofemoral syndrome is usually the result of repetitive movement of your kneecap i.e. patella against your femur or the thigh bone. This results in the tissue under the knee cap getting damaged and athletes involved in running, volleyball, and basketball are commonly diagnosed with this injury. You have to be patient in case of Patellofemoral pain because it can take up to 6 weeks to clear up. It's advised to perform low-impact exercises and working out the quadriceps during this time to relieve pain.
- Groin Pull
Pushing off happens a lot in many kinds of sports and this side-to-side motion results in strain of your inner thigh muscles causing a pull in the groin area. Many hockey, soccer, football, and baseball players are diagnosed with this injury and the best way to get rid of it is compression, ice packs, and rest. Don’t return to full activity too quickly as this will aggravate the groin pull and even turn it into a long-term issue. Significant swelling and pain are signs that you should see a doctor soon.
- Hamstring Strain
Your hamstrings can over-stretch very easily by movements such as hurdling or even running when one tends to kick the leg out rather sharply. Even lifting too much weight in or performing deadlifts in the wrong form can cause this pain. Hamstring injuries are usually slow to heal because we get constant stress onto the injured tissue while we walk. The right thing to do here is avoid all kinds of activities until it is healed completely.
- Shin Splints
When you experience pain on the front of your lower legs it is called “shin splints.” This pain is most often the result of running and other more strenuous training programs. The best thing to do here is rest, apply ice packs, and try some over-the-counter pain medication and muscle relaxers. You should see a doctor when your shin splints are a result of a stress fracture which is a small break in the shin bone and is quite rare. Do note that stress fractures would require prolonged rest (most commonly a month or two) to heal completely.