By Dr. Peter Ferraro
The most common sports injuries are sprains or strains. When you stretch, twist or turn a ligament, it results in a sprain while strains are caused by muscle tissue or fibers getting stretched or torn. Rest and physiotherapy may help in most of the injuries while some need surgery, too.
1. Pain in the joints or back
If you feel pain in joints like elbow, wrist, ankle or knee, you should not overlook such a pain. Don’t mistake it for a muscular pain as these joints do not have any muscle around them. If the joint pain lasts for more than a couple of days, you might need to see a physician.
Shoulder pain is common in sports like tennis and badminton or cricket, which require repetitive movement of the arm. This happens because the tendons around the shoulder joint get inflamed or torn.
The risk of back pain comes with most sports, and can be considerably reduced by warming up properly before you exercise and play. Back pain may show up as stiffness or soreness of the lower back also. You might also feel pain in the shoulders, neck, lower limbs or buttocks.
If you feel pain at a certain point in a muscle, joint or bone when you press a finger into them, it could be because of an injury. Try pressing the same spot on the other side of your body. If it does not produce a similar pain, it definitely is an injury and you must see a physician to rule out the possibility of the same.
Most sports injuries result in swelling. It may so happen that the swelling might not be very obvious but you may able to feel it, along with pain or redness or heat. A swollen joint will cause stiffness and pain and you might hear a clicking sound as the swelling pushes tendons into a new position and they snap over one another. A physician must examine the swelling to determine the extent of injury.
Swelling could also happen when you break a bone. Small bone injuries like a tiny crack in the bone or inflammation of the tissues like muscles, ligaments and tendons around the bone can be treated with ice packs and adequate rest. If the bone fracture is severe, there might be bleeding also. You may even faint or feel dizzy. This will require immediate attention of a surgeon.
4. Losing range of motion
If a joint is hurt but there is no obvious swelling, you will surely experience reduced range of motion in that joint – the limb associated with not move beyond a certain range. Comparing the corresponding part of the body on the other side will help you determine the difference in range of motion. If the difference is major, your injury might need attention.
5. Weakness on one side
Though it is difficult to compare one side of the body with the other for weakness, it can help assess if you have an injury. For arms, you can try lifting the same weight with your left arm and then the right arm. For legs, you can try placing your body weight on left foot and then the right foot. If you feel a difference while doing the same, it could be a sign of injury.
6. Tingling or numbness
The feeling of numbness or tingling can be associated with compression of nerves, and should not be ignored at all. It could actually be a serious injury and seeing a physician is the best idea.
It is natural to get injured while playing any sport, but all injuries might not be acute and obvious. Some injuries develop slowly and worsen over time, turning into chronic pains. These injuries do show some early warning signs, but they usually go ignored. Paying attention to these signs can not only help you heal quicker, but also avoid major problems in the future and save your body from severe damage. For most injuries, physical therapy may help get immediate and long-lasting relief if detected and treated early.
– Dr. Peter Ferraro, DC, located in Saddle brook in Bergen County, is one of the New Jersey’s leading chiropractic experts. Dr. Ferraro, has over 12 years of experience in the chiropractic field.