How to Avoid Athletic Injury

Runner holding onto injured ankle.

Understanding Athletic Injuries

When you’re an athlete, an athletic injury is the last thing you want but something you’ll probably experience at some point. What is important is to realize you have an athletic injury and to find a trusted professional that knows how to treat athletic injuries. Ignoring your injury is the worst thing you can do for yourself and your athletic future. 

There are several types of athletic injuries an athlete can experience, and some are more severe than others – even crippling. With a minor athletic injury, athletic tape for injury is sufficient. But before you determine just wrapping tape around it will cure it all, you should get professional attention to be sure. An athletic injury may seem minor on the surface, but deep inside, there can be severe damage. 

Signs of Athletic Injury

Let’s look at an athletic injury of the knee for example. The knee is perhaps the most often injured part of an athlete’s body, especially if their sport of choice involves jumping or running, which most do. The frequency of this athletic injury, if not properly cared for and healed, can lead to chronic knee problems later in life, including arthritis, at an early age.

For children and teens, it is a parent’s duty and coach’s responsibility to watch for any signs or symptoms of a child experiencing knee injury. For the adult athlete, it is up to you, your coaches, and a team trainer to know these signs or symptoms of athletic injury of the knees: 

  • Bruising
  • Difficulty bending
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Inability to bear weight 

It is important to note these signs and symptoms aren’t always immediately apparent. This is why when a child or an adult has complained about these issues later, even after a rest period, it is still important to have the knee checked out by an athletic injury professional. 

What is the most common knee injury in sports? 

There are three all-too-common athletic injuries to the knees. Note that they are not necessarily listed in any specific order:

  • Fractures: This is a break in a bone caused by great pressure placed on the bone. For a young athlete, this injury is extremely risky because their bones are still growing. If the fracture is in the growth plate, the bone could quit growing or grow improperly. 
  • Overuse Injury: Today, games and practices are a year-round thing, making athletic injuries more common with athletes overusing their bodies, resulting in athletic injury. 

A bump on the lower part of the knee is an inflammation of the patellar ligament, known as Osgood-Schlatter disease. This is commonly discovered in growing adolescents because their bones are in a rapid growth mode. This disease requires the athlete to rest their knee and modify their activity in order for it to heal. 

Another athletic injury of the knee is the Sindig-Larsen-Johansson disease. This knee injury is characterized by growth plate irritation from repeated stress. Usually a few weeks of rest will heal this athletic injury. 

For runners, a common athletic injury is Patellofemoral pain syndrome. This develops from repetitive bending and straightening while running, resulting in overuse. 

  • Cartilage and Ligament Injuries: This is a common athletic injury at any age, but is even more common in younger athletes as their bodies aren’t fully formed. A torn ACL occurs when the anterior cruciate ligament or the MCL (medial collateral ligament) tears during physical collision on the field, a hard landing, or forceful twisting. Conservative treatment for a sprained ligament is normal, however, and actual tear will usually require surgery. 

How does injury affect sports performance?

The long-term consequences of an athletic injury can develop and extend years later for an athlete. Some examples are: 

  • Cognitive Decline

A concussion happens when a person is hit in the head, causing a traumatic brain injury as the brain is slammed against the skull. It is a common contact sport athletic injury found in boxing, football, and hockey. The results may show up immediately or even 30 years into the future. 

  • Torn Ligaments

This athletic injury is certain to result in arthritis as the athlete ages and as the protective cartilage cushioning the bones is worn down, allowing the bones to rub together. The results are difficulty in moving, pain, and swelling of the joints. 

  • Bone Deformity

Athletic injury in a child athlete that affects the bones can also affect their growth, especially if the growth plate is injured, resulting in bone deformity. 

Woman running on a trail with the sun shining on her.

In Closing 

Are athletic injury and sport behavior related? Medical and mental experts will tell you yes, that an athletic injury affects an athlete in many different ways. It is common for an athlete suffering from an athletic injury to experience anger, depression, low self-esteem, and tension. 

This mood disturbance can affect the healing of their athletic injury and performance once they are healed and released to return to their normal activities. It is possible they will not be able to return to their same position or even their sport of choice. For more information or help recovering from athletic injury in Chambersburg, PA , contact Madeira Chiropractic & Rehabilitation at __PHONE__.