Whether you are a highly-trained athlete or a weekend warrior, there’s always a chance you could get injured. Unfortunately, when injuries happen, it can be hard to know what you’ve tweaked or how to treat it. Brian McEvoy, PT, UnityPoint Health, counts down the most common sports injuries, from the least common to the most common, along with possible causes, treatments and recovery strategies.
Hip Flexor Strain
The hip flexors are muscles found on the upper-front side of your thigh. The main functions of the hip flexor muscles are to lift the knee toward your trunk, as well as assist moving your leg toward and away from the other leg. Hip flexors can be weak in individuals who sit a great deal at work or can become weak and stiff in individuals who have poor sitting posture.
“Common symptoms of a hip flexor strain would include pain with raising the leg, such as stair climbing and transfers in and out of a car, as well as cutting and running activities,” McEvoy says. “Someone who experiences a hip flexor strain might notice bruising in the front of the upper thigh and groin area.”
A hip flexor strain is best treated by rest and icing for 15 to 20 minutes at a time for the first 48 to 72 hours. After the first three recovery days, the injured athlete could apply heat for 15 to 20 minutes followed by lying down and performing gentle heel slides and hip flexor stretches. If the pain, symptoms and limited activity remain after two weeks, the individual should seek out physical therapy for pain and swelling control and instruction in specific hip-strengthening exercises to regain power, range of motion and movement.
ACL Tear or Strain
The ACL, anterior cruciate ligament, is one of the major stabilizing ligaments of the knee. The most common cause of sports injuries for an ACL strain is slowing down and trying to cut, pivot or change directions. Ligaments on the inside of the knee are often torn with the ACL injury, making it a devastating event.Everything You Need to Know About Sports Injuries
Complaints of instability when walking or turning corners, as well as increased swelling in the knee would be common ACL tear symptoms. A slight ACL strain or tear can be healed without surgery using rest and ice, as the scar tissue helps heal the ligament and the knee becomes more stable. A complete ACL tear would require surgery and a few months of recovery time with aggressive physical therapy before the athlete would be able to return to activity.Everything You Need to Know About Sports Injuries
How do you treat sports injuries?
Rest the injury. Ice the injury once every hour for 20 minutes. Compress the injury by wrapping it with an ace bandage or immobilize with a splint. Elevate the injury above the heart to decrease blood flow and reduce swelling.