The body is an incredible machine. It can heal and protect itself, so long as the mind listens and adapts to the body’s needs. That includes respecting any injury that might occur. Just like all machines, the body can break down. But with regular maintenance and check-ups, small accidents are unlikely to result in long-term damage. Here’s common types of sports injuries, their causes, prevention, and treatment.
The information provided in this blog post is for guidance purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice.
Table of contents:
7 Common Sports Injuries
1. Medial Collateral Ligament and Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tear
Knee pain from running and other sports is extremely common. After all, knees absorb impact from below and above. While running is NOT intrinsically bad for the knees, overuse, impact, or quick changes in direction can cause problems. Examples include runner’s knee, jumper’s knee, and pes anserinus syndrome. Moreover, two muscle tears around the knee are extremely common and, unfortunately, require intense treatment.
Cause: The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a band of tissues that connect the thigh bone to the shin on the lateral of the knee. ACL tears usually happen during a sudden change of movement. Most ACL injuries feel like a “pop” in the knee followed by swelling, instability, and pain. The medial collateral ligament (MCL) also connects the thigh to the shin. But, the connection is on the medial side of the knee. Most athletes with an MCL tear feel a locked or caught sensation in the inner knee, followed by extreme tenderness.Prevention: Workouts for runner’s knee help to strengthen this area. Agility-focused cardiovascular workouts, like running through cones and around obstacles. Practice proper squat form, focusing on keeping knees pushed outward/ lateral (versus dropping toward the center). Pilates includes exercises for knee pain that focus on balance, strength, and connective tissues around the thighs and hips. Strengthen the hamstrings and lateral leg muscles. Be extra careful when exercising on artificial turf. Consider wearing knee pads during contact sports or those with a high likelihood of falling (like sky running). Treatment: An ACL injury is served best with rest. Many physicians recommend taking medicine for pain and inflammation, as well as wearing a knee brace. A total or deep partial tear can require surgery and wearing a brace for months. During the treatment process, with a doctor’s approval, cycling is usually a safe option.(1, 2)
Side lunges strengthen the lateral leg muscles.
2. Rotator Cuff Tear
Low side plank twists are a rotator cuff workout that strengthen shoulder stabilizer muscles.
3. Blunt-force Impact
4. Dislocation and Fracture
Lunge twists work every muscle in the body and strengthen the stabilizing core muscles.
5. Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow
Stretching the shoulders and wrists before a workout can help with elbow pain.
6. Groin Strain and Sports Hernia
Single leg bridges are a great way to strengthen the muscles of the pelvis and low back.
7. Hamstring injury
Moving in and out of this stretch is a dynamic warm-up for hamstring mobility.
Nutritional Advice for Sports Injuries
When recovering from a sports injury, one of the best things you can do is eat well. Here is a list of micro- and macronutrients that can aid in recovery. We recommend eating whole, fresh foods containing these nutrients.
1. Protein-rich foods
2. Vitamin C
Collagen rebuilds tissues and is anti-inflammatory. Citrus fruit and leafy green vegetables are rich in Vitamin C, which helps the body to produce collagen.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and building blocks for the body’s cellular recovery processes. Salmon, sardines, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans are all-natural sources of Omega-3 fats.
4. Calcium and Vitamin D
Fractures, dislocations, and sports hernias are all related to weak or impacted bones. Calcium builds bones. Milk, cheese, yogurt, some fish, almonds, and kale are all great sources of calcium. But without Vitamin D, the body cannot absorb calcium. So eat some egg yolks or go for a jog in the sun! Both fill you up with Vitamin D.
Prevention is The Best Medicine
Unfortunately, most athletes will at some point find themselves injured. It’s part of being alive, of having a complex body and love of movement! But the best way to prevent an injury is to be thoughtful about movement, health, and body awareness. Cross-training, taking time to recover, eating well, and listening to your body are, ultimately, the best medicine for sports injuries.