The Weekend Warrior: Common Injuries

on Monday, 12 March 2012.

On the weekend, many people engage is sports. If we haven't played that sport in a long time, have muscle tightness or imbalances, are in poor condition, or simply try to play beyond our means, we have a greater chance of injury.

You are playing basketball, you go up for the rebound, and land on the side of your foot. A great force is transmitted upon landing. A sprained ankle is a very common injury. The ligaments of the ankle hold the ankle bones and joint in position. When a ligament is forced to stretch beyond its normal range, a sprain occurs.

Ankle sprains happen when the foot twists, rolls or turns beyond its normal motions. You can sprain your ankle if the foot is planted unevenly on a surface, beyond the normal force of stepping.

Most ankle sprains need only a period of protection to heal. The healing process takes about four weeks to six weeks.

use R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression and elevation):

• Rest your ankle by not walking on it.

• Ice should be immediately applied. It keeps the swelling down. It can be used for 20 minutes to 30 minutes, three or four times daily.

• Compression dressings, bandages or ace-wraps immobilize and support

• Elevate your ankle above your heart level for 48 hours.

If there is bruising, severe pain, fails to heals, allot of swelling ,redness, then one should see a physician.

You are playing flag or touch football and it gets a little more competitive and rough, and suddenly you make a big block and then take an awkward fall. The majority of episodes of acute lower back pain are caused by damage to the muscles and/or ligaments in the low back. Even though a muscle strain doesn't sound like a serious injury, the low back pain can be surprisingly severe.

Lower back pain from a muscle strain occurs most frequently from lifting a heavy object, lifting while twisting, or a sudden movement or fall. The pain is usually localized (doesn't radiate to the leg), and there may be muscle spasms or soreness upon touch. Fortunately, muscle strains usually heal with time (a couple of days or weeks) .

The patient may be advised to rest, but for no more than one or two days. Pain medication, ice application and/or heat application may all help alleviate the pain from the strained or sprained muscle. If the pain isn't improving after 2 days, is severe, or one experiences numbness or tingling in the legs then one should see a physician.

You are playing softball. You haven't warmed up. You are at the plate and with the first pitch give the ball a ride. You sprint out of the box with great excitement and pull up limping. Hamstring muscle injuries — such as a "pulled hamstring" — occur frequently in athletes. They are especially common in athletes who participate in sports that require sprinting, such as track, soccer, and basketball.

Hamstring muscle strains often occur when the muscle lengthens as it contracts, or shortens. Although it sounds contradictory, this happens when you extend a muscle while it is weighted, or loaded. This is called an "eccentric contraction."

Risk factors are tightness, fatigue, muscle imbalance, and poor conditioning.

Most hamstring strains usually heal very well .

RICE. The RICE protocol is effective for most sports-related injuries. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

Once the initial pain and swelling has settled down, physical therapy can begin. Specific exercises can restore range of motion and strength.

Warm up for every physical activity. Enjoy yourself and play within your means. Listen to your body.

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