Pain Relief For Sports Injuries Tips
Read these 6 Pain Relief For Sports Injuries Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Pain Relief tips and hundreds of other topics.
What are the types of knee injuries that occur in sports?
The knee is a very vulnerable joint when it comes to athletic endeavors. Several structures are at risk of sudden or acute injury, while others may be prone to pain related to overuse. Here is the breakdown of the more common knee injuries in sports:
- Cartilage damage- The meniscus is the cartilage in the knee, lining the weight-bearing surfaces of the bone and providing cushioning and stability as you jump, bend, and twist. The meniscus can be torn or split partially or completely (think hangnail) from twisting or over-flexing the knee. Pain when the joint line is touched, general aching, a catching, locking, or buckling sensation, and possible swelling are the common symptoms.
- Ligament sprain- The medial and lateral collateral (on the inside and outside) and the cruciate ligaments (they criss-cross inside the joint and hold it together) are vulnerable to partial or complete rupture from a blow to the side of the leg, stepping on something (like a ball, someone's foot, or in a hole), a sudden twist (catching a ski, for example), or buckling when landing from a jump. Pain, tenderness, swelling and instability are the signs to look for.
- Tendinitis- Inflammation or chronic irritation of a tendon, usually the one beneath the kneecap (which is called jumper's knee). With tendinitis, there will be pain with active use of the involved muscle, tenderness, and sometimes swelling.
- Patellofemoral problems- The patella is the kneecap, and this problem involves the articulation between the kneecap and the bone is sits on, the lower part of the femur. If the kneecap is sitting at a strange angle or doesn't travel properly within the groove in the lower part of the femur, there will be pain. The pain usually is worse when climbing stairs, sitting, jumping, squatting, or running.
Knee problems can become chronic if not treated properly. Keep yourself in the game by getting a proper diagnosis of your injury and following a good plan for recovery.
What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?
Sprains and strains are extremely common sports injuries, accounting for 4.5 million doctor visits a year. Over one-third of those are active adults between the ages of 25-44, and men have a 30% greater chance than women of experiencing a sprain or strain. So what is the difference? A sprain:
- Affects ligaments, which are the fibrous tissues that attach one bone to another, and can result in instability of the joint involved
- Occurs when a joint is moved beyond its normal range of motion or forced into an unnatural position
- Ranges in degrees, classified based on what percentage of the ligamentous fibers are involved
- Means that some or all of the fibers are overstretched or possibly torn
- Frequently involves the ankle, knee or fingers
- Affects muscles or tendons, the ropy ends of the muscles that attach the muscle to the bone it moves
- Ranges in severity, from general soreness or stiffness to an actual disruption of the integrity of the muscle
- Is classified depending on how many and how extensively the muscle fibers are torn
- Can occur when a muscle is made to work extra hard to overcome an unusual amount of resistance
- May affect any muscle in the body at any time, but will usually occur in the one most involved in the activity you're doing
Most sprains and strains resolve easily, perhaps with a little treatment. But if the injury is more severe, or your sports-related goals run the risk of being compromised, work with a qualified trainer or physical therapist to reach an optimal level of function.
How do I treat a sports injury?
Everything was going great--the team was ahead, the championship was in the bag, a great meal was waiting at home. Then your foot found an opponent's shoe and next thing you know you're on your rear with a throbbing ankle. What should you do now?
Treating sports injuries begins and ends with the acronym R.I.C.E., which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. Here are the steps:
- Rest- Stop whatever it was you were doing immediately. Try to stay off the involved area and avoid using it for the first day or so after injury.
- Ice- Put an ice pack, towel or t-shirt filled with ice, cold compress, or bag of frozen peas (they work great and the pieces are small, so they conform to any body part easily) on the injured area for at least 15 or 20 minutes. Avoid getting it too cold (and potentially causing frostbite) by placing a thin layer of towel or cloth between the ice and the skin
- Compression- Wrap the ice on, and when the ice is off keep an elastic wrap on the area, binding it from the far end toward the body (helping any swelling get pumped back into the circulatory system). The compression wrap should be snug, but not so tight that the farthest points in the extremity (for example, the fingers or toes) get cold or numb.
- Elevation- Try to keep the injured area up above the level of the heart. This will also help reduce swelling and assist in getting excess fluid pumped back to the heart.
This home-spun approach can begin as soon as the injury occurs, right on the court or field, and should continue at home for the first 2-48 hours after injury. The idea is to slow down the inflammatory process. After the first day or two of using R.I.C.E., see a doctor if the situation doesn't start to resolve on its own.
Can I train too much?
Overtraining has become a common problem among modern athletes. Some are convinced that high amounts of training will yield advantageous results, but when training becomes excessive, athletes may experience emotional, behavioral, or physical damage.
The most common symptoms of overtraining are fatigue and weakness, but this problem can also lead to sports injury. When training is performed without adequate rest, muscles may grow excessively tired and lose the ability to sustain training activities any longer. As a result, athletes who experience this condition will often experience painful sports injuries. Injuries resulting from overtraining syndrome include but are not limited to:
- Orthopedic injury
- Heart problems
- Loss of strength
- Muscle strain
If you are an athlete that is experiencing symptoms of exhaustion, unexpected weight loss, chronic head pain or headaches, decreased appetite, or high blood pressure, you may be susceptible to overtraining syndrome.
What may cause shin pain after running?
Runners practice one of the less-harmful sports, but they are still at high risk for athletic injury. Running has been established as one of many common causes of chest pain, leg injury, hip bursitis, and ankle pulls. Among the most common injuries, runners are sometimes susceptible to cardiovascular problems, considering that they exert their hearts in high gear on a regular basis. Running strengthens the heart, but in doing so, athletes become vulnerable to injury.
Angina, which is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when the heart is not receiving adequate amounts of oxygen-rich blood, is a problem that usually indicates another underlying condition or disease. Angina consists of considerable amounts of chest pain, and may radiate into the shoulders, neck,arms, back, or even jaw. Symptoms of angina can be compared to those of common indigestion.
There are three types of angina:
- Stable Angina: Something is causing the heart to work harder than usual, which as a result, causes constricted blood flow and chest pain. A possible cause of this type of angina could be running or overexertion.
- Unstable Angina: Pain that occurs sporadically without cause; it often indicates that a more dangerous heart condition may be present.
- Variant Angina: This is a rare form that occurs mostly during sleep, and usually consists of severe amounts of chest pain.
If you are an athlete and are experiencing chest pain, it is important that you consult with a physician for medical attention. Athletes must take this pain seriously as heart conditions are nothing to take lightly.
What are the effects of a concussion?
The amount of sports-related injuries is rising in this country, and with it the number of undiagnosed concussions in young athletes. A concussion is a brain injury caused by a fall or blow to the head. Athletes, especially football players, are especially susceptible to experiencing concussions. Each year, more than 300,000 sports-related brain injuries occur in the United States, not including those which remain undiagnosed. Most of these can be classified as concussions, and the vast majority of them occur within the young athlete demographic.
Pain resulting from a concussion may range in terms of severity, but any sort of pain should be treated with extreme caution. Concussions are usually classified on a scale of one to three, the lowest being a menial injury and the highest involving a loss of consciousness. In serious cases of repeated concussions, this condition can transform into an overwhelming condition called vertigo, which can cause symptoms of prolonged pain, anxiety, and even depression. Generally speaking, pain resulting from concussions will include the following:
- Feeling dizzy, dazed, or light-headed
- Nausea and vomiting
- Head pain causes lack of balance
- Vision problems and/or light sensitivity
- Inability for coordination
If you are displaying signs of a concussion, it's important that you consult with a physician for immediate help. Concussions are an intense condition that should never be taken lightly. Without medical attention, symptoms of concussions will only increase.