If you're active in athletics, you know all too well that injuries are a part of the game. But that doesn’t mean all sports injuries are inevitable.
There’s a lot you can do to recover more quickly and surely, or to prevent injuries from happening in the first place.
First, it's important to understand the risks associated with your sport. By doing so, you can train and play in a way that will help prevent injuries, get the right treatment when you need it, and overall, spend less time on the sidelines and more time in the game.
At JAG Physical Therapy, we're regional experts in sports medicine. We’re also the official physical therapy provider for a number of regional teams — from pros like the New Jersey Devils and NYCFC, to college athletes like Seton Hall and Columbia University, to young athletes like New Jersey Youth Soccer.
What Are The Most Common Sports Injuries?
Common sports injuries range from minor to severe, including muscle strains and sprains, concussions, bruises, scrapes, and nose bleeds.
Sports injuries can also be classified as acute (one-time) or chronic (recurring or ongoing). However, acute injuries can become chronic if you do not seek proper treatment promptly.
Acute Sports Injuries
Injuries that occur spontaneously, such as an ankle sprain caused by an awkward turn, are called acute injuries.
Although the onset happens rather quickly, an acute injury can be traumatic and sometimes have a lengthy recovery time.
Examples of acute sports injuries include:
- Bone fractures and breaks
- Sprains and muscle strains
- Tendon tears
- Knee injuries, such as ACL tears
- Joint dislocations
- Head injuries like concussions
To reduce the risk of sustaining an acute sports injury, you should always warm up before exercising or playing, exercise to strengthen muscle groups that support key joints, and avoid collisions or improper contact.
Chronic Sports Injuries
Chronic injuries develop over time due to repeated strain on a muscle group or joint. These injuries can also result from prior missed or improperly treated acute injuries that have since worsened.
Examples of chronic injuries include:
- Forms of tendinitis, including tennis elbow
- Stress fractures
- Back injuries
- Shin splints
- Runner's knee
- Plantar fasciitis
- And more.
Professional athletic training, the development of proper form for your sport, adequate rest between physical activities, and appropriate treatment for minor injuries can help reduce your risk of developing a chronic sports injury.
An overuse injury is another form of a chronic injury, and the terms are often used interchangeably.
Characterized by the strain of repetitive movement related to specific sports activities, overuse injuries are sometimes difficult to avoid — but there’s a lot you can do to prevent or mitigate them.
For example, if you play baseball, tennis, and volleyball, you are more likely to injure your rotator cuff. This is because these sports require overhead shoulder movements, often with force, like pitching, striking, and driving the ball.
Usually, the best way to avoid overuse injuries is to allow yourself plenty of time to rest. Rest should happen at all levels, including in between exercises, training sessions, games, and seasons.
Sports Injury Treatment
You can fully recover from most sports injuries with the proper treatment.
First, if you have a minor injury — one you can walk away from without assistance — it’s key to know the proper first aid and self-care to prevent it from recurring or getting worse. When pain or swelling occurs, you can use an over-the-counter NSAID or pain reliever like ibuprofen. Most importantly, be sure to follow the RICE method, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
But, for injuries that persist beyond minor pain and inflammation — including fractures, broken bones, tears, or strains that won’t subside — you should be immediately evaluated by a trained professional.
If you wait, your body may begin to heal improperly, which can lead to a recovery that is less than 100% or a future recurrence of the injury.
The JAG PT Approach to Sports Injury Prevention and Treatment
At JAG PT, we understand that all bodies and all situations are unique. Our team has the comprehensive experience, training, and understanding to assess your condition and create a personalized recovery plan that will work for you.
Your JAG physical therapist will start with an evaluation of your condition then design a rehabilitation plan that includes stretches and exercises you can do both at home and at our facility. As you begin to stabilize your injury, your physical therapist may adjust your recovery plan, guiding you on the most effective course of recovery until your body is fully healed.
Your transition through recovery will address all your needs every step of the way. From stretches that help relieve pain to techniques that will get you moving again, we're here to help get you back in the game.
At JAG PT, we have extensive experience working with athletes and teams at all levels of competition, from youth leagues to professional teams.
When you come to receive care from a JAG physical therapist, we promise to recognize your unique circumstances and provide you nothing short of exceptional service
Sports Medicine That's Right for You
If you're hurt, why risk exacerbating the injury? For a better way to maintain your health and athletic longevity, start your treatment plan with JAG PT. We’ll help you get back the life you love.
JAG PT offers expert physical therapy at over 100 locations throughout New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
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