Common Sporting Injuries & Tips on Preventing Them

So many of us like to try it, some use sport as a social get together and some are very serious about keeping fit. No matter what your preference for sport is, you must look after yourself to avoid injury. Do not become fatigued or exhausted as the mind will push the body to extremes, causing injury. Make sure you take a break after expending high levels of energy, this will refuel your body and mind.

We spoke with Brendan McCann – An accredited exercise physiologist at Live Well Rehab in Brisbane about the most common injuries he sees both at the his rehabilitation clinic and on the sporting grounds. Brendan specialises in post-operative musculoskeletal rehabilitation & sports rehabilitation techniques and has seen his fair share of on-field injuries working in the strength and conditioning staff of the Queensland Reds. Here is his take on some of the more common sporting injuries and tips to preventing them.

bmx rider drinking waterDehydration:

It’s great to get outdoors, however to prevent dehydration, do not play sport outdoors in the middle of the day when the sun is at its worst. Make sure you consume enough fluid prior to, during and after exercise. Sweating and losing too much fluid from your body can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, therefore causing you to not be able to achieve your sporting goals.

playing tennis injuryTennis Elbow (Epicondylitis):

Nothing like a good game of tennis – right?? If you don’t prepare yourself by doing some warm up stretches and some activity to warm up the primary and secondary muscles in your body, you could put yourself at risk of tennis/golf elbow and other muscle injuries to your legs and arms. Using compression tops when training can provide support and stability throughout the shoulders, back and stomach helping to prevent injury caused by repetitive actions like swing a racquet. Tennis elbow is caused by repetitive action of the elbow where tendons are aggravated by tiny tears in the elbow making it very painful to perform swinging actions. There could also be excessive swelling which would reduce range of motion and inhibit healing. Once sustained, it is advisable not to use the arm and promote faster healing by supporting the area with a splint and/or a compression bandage. Ice is also useful for 20 minutes every one to two hours as an anti-inflammatory for the first 48 hours after the injury.

wear a mouthguard when playing sportsDental Damage:

Dental protection is a must, a recent study of dental injuries found that 13-39% of dental injuries occur while playing sports including cycling, skateboarding and scooter riding, mainly involving people under the age of 25. Whether you are playing hockey, football, squash, tennis, or gymnastics, to prevent broken or loose teeth from a hit to the jaw, or collision, ensure you wear the correct protection for your teeth. Mouthguards are available from the Pharmacy or another alternative is to have a custom sports mouthguard made to give significant support and protection to your teeth and jaw during sporting activity.

knee injury aclKnee Joint Injuries:

The ACL or Anterior Cruciate Ligament which holds the leg bone to the knee is a very common injury throughout the country due solely for our love of football! An ACL tear or break is caused by repetitive movement of the knee cap or through being injured in a high impact event like by a tackle from the side causing the ACL to strain or tear. This is potentially the most severe knee injury and will require surgery for those who still wish to participate in their chosen sport. As an exercise physiologist, we deal with many patients trying to rehabilitate their knees after sustaining this type of injury and know first-hand the effort required to regain previous leg strength. Compression tights are a useful device and can help to provide your muscles with an extra bit of support during your recovery and even as a preventative tool.

How To Prevent Sporting Injuries

Now not all these injuries are preventable as some occur as a combination of bad luck and timing. But there are some simple points to follow to improve your chances of avoiding injury, such as:

  • Wearing appropriate footwear for your sport
  • Use compression clothing to help support your muscles
  • Taping muscles and joints that are at risk or have caused problems in the past
  • Using the correct safety equipment including mouthguards and helmets
  • Drink PLENTY of water
  • Try and keep fit even in the off-season
  • Rest injuries for the time recommended by your physio or exercise physiologist

SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION If you suspect a serious injury and see signs of joint or bone damage; excessive swelling or excessive bruising, please see a Doctor.