Injuring yourself in any sport can lead to a major setback in your development, so it is important that you take precautions to avoid them. Here are some common injuries in different sports and tips to help you prevent them.
Why is injury prevention important?
Getting injured in general can be detrimental to your life, but it can be especially challenging when it is part of a sport. Injuries can set your progress back significantly as they can take you out of training or practice for an undetermined amount. This will influence your fitness levels so even when you can train again you may have to build it back up.
Sustaining an injury can also affect your mental health. Not being able to do the thing you love can be hard, so it may be worth keeping a therapist on hand to help you deal with setbacks such as injuries.
With football being arguably the most popular sport in the UK, it is unsurprising that many injuries can come from a match. One of the more common pains is sprains, particularly around the ankles, hamstrings and groins.
To try and prevent sprains you can wear properly fitting shoes that support the movement of your feet when playing. You can work some muscle-strengthening exercises into your training to support your joints. Drills such as using a resistance band to pull against with your feet will help.
Rugby injuries can be wide and varied, but injuries to the head can be serious. Concussions and head injuries are one of the main reasons for brain injury claims within sports. Currently, more than 200 ex-rugby players are accusing the governing bodies of rugby of failing to protect them against brain injuries.
As rugby is a contact sport, the force at which players collide can be colossal and result in fractured fingers, broken noses and facial injuries. Again, wearing the correct protection can help reduce the severity of these injuries. Scrum caps, mouthguards and shoulder padding are all available and should be used. Support taping is also great at helping to target potential problem areas such as shoulders and knees.
There is a wide range of injuries that can occur from running, affecting both professional athletes and hobby runners. One of the most common injuries that can affect runners is what’s called a runner’s knee, this condition causes pain and discomfort around or underneath the kneecap. Runner’s knee can occur from improper form and technique while running, which can be common in amateur runners, as well as structural defects already present in the knee.
The best course of action to prevent runner’s knee is ensuring a proper warmup and stretch before any running activity, while also working to strengthen the muscles around the knee such as the thigh muscles. Using cold therapy on knees after running or when the knees become sore can also help to reduce inflammation that could cause the condition to worsen.
Another injury commonly caused by running are stress fractures. These occur mainly in the lower body where there is body weight being repeatedly impacted onto the bones. This not only occurs in running, but any sports with jumping, running and high impact on the legs. This injury mainly occurs in the bones of the feet, the femur, and fibula and tibia.
When it comes to stress fractures, there are a few best practices used to prevent injury. Ensuring you eat a healthy balanced diet to ensure bone density is high, such as calcium and vitamin D. You should also slowly progress to higher intensity activity to allow your body to adapt, and ensure you wear proper footwear for running to cushion the impact on the lower body.
RSI: Repetitive strain injuries
Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) occur when a joint makes the same motion frequently. It is common to see tennis players get tennis elbow and golfers can get them in their back, shoulders and wrists. RSIs can be exacerbated by poor technique or posture and not enough rest.
To help your RSI heal, you should consult your GP first as they may be able to identify the exact cause. Painkillers are your friend, but anti-inflammatories will work better when combined with a heat or ice pack. Scheduling yourself some physiotherapy sessions will help too, as you will be given exercises that you can do easily whilst still moving at a limited pace.
Rest and recovery
As much as it may seem obvious, resting any injury is key to recovery. It is easy to get into a mindset of training more means achieving a higher level of skill but that isn’t true. Overusing your muscles and joints, fatigue and poor judgment can contribute to getting injured and resting can help to prevent this.