Engaging in sports can be a fun activity for athletes and even ordinary people engaging it leisurely. Sports-related injuries, however, are common and can happen when you are not careful enough. These common sport injuries can be detrimental in the sense that it keeps us immobilized or worse still, having long-term effects on our health.
RAW looks at the 5 most common sports injuries in Singapore that are often inflicted by athletes and ordinary people alike. Learn how you can prevent these injuries from occurring to you with the essential pointers we provide.
1) Sprain Injuries
Sprain injuries happen due to overuse or from force such as a collision or fall. This results in torn muscle or ligament. The most common sprain injuries in sports are wrist, thumb and ankle sprains.
Wrist sprain occurs when a force pushes the hand or finger backward. This force is very likely to be caused by an impact on the ground which is, in turn, resulted from a momentary loss of balance. When this happens, you are likely to feel a tear in your wrist accompanied by warmth and tenderness around the injury.
A thumb sprain takes place when the thumb is bent into an extreme position or is jammed into another person or object. When this happens, you experience pain and swelling in your thumb. It affects your daily functionality as well such as having trouble writing.
An ankle sprain refers to a tear in the ligaments of the ankle. There are two types of ankle sprains that a person is likely to suffer from:
- Eversion ankle sprain – This occurs when the ankle rolls outward and tears the deltoid
- Inversion ankle sprain – This occurs when you twist your foot upward and the ankle rolls inward.
There are risk factors involved that increase your likelihood of inflicting a sprain. When you do not warm up properly before exercising, your muscles remain tight which limits your range of motion, increasing the risk of injury. When you are poorly conditioned for intense sports, your muscles can be left weak which also increases the risk of sustaining an injury.
2) Knee Injuries
Knee injuries can be an awful experience for anyone suffering from it, whether you are a teenager or an elderly. There are different types of knee injuries, which are dependent on the circumstances.
An athlete suffering from a knee injury is most likely to be caused by a traumatic sports injury or a repetitive overuse injury.
ACL tear injuries most commonly happen when athletes participating in physical activities that put stress on the knee. When it happens, most people would hear loud “popping” sensation in their knee or experience the loss of range of motion.
Athletes participating in sporting activities such as football, gymnastics, and downhill skiing risk inflicting such injuries. Wearing footwear does not fit well is also a risk factor.
Sportsmen may also want to take note of the movements that can increase the risk of such injuries from happening. This includes landing awkwardly from a jump and stopping suddenly.
3) Rotator Cuff Injuries
The rotator cuff refers to a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder.
An injury in the rotator cuff happens when people repeatedly perform overhead motions in their daily life. They are likely to suffer from either one of these tears:
- Partial Tear – This tear damages the tendon but does not completely sever it.
- Complete Tear – This tear causes a hole in the tendon. The tendon is separated from the bone.
If you are suffering from a rotator cuff tear, you are likely to experience symptoms such as feeling weak when lifting or rotating your arm, or suffering from pain when lifting or lowering your arm, or with specific movements.
Athletes such as tennis players and baseball pitchers are vulnerable to such injuries. People who do repetitive lifting or overhead activities such as weightlifters are also at risk to rotator cuff tear.
4) Stress Fractures
Stress fractures can be considered as one of the most common sports injuries. They are basically tiny cracks in the bone. They are caused by overuse, such as jumping up and down repeatedly or running long distances.
When a person suffers from a fracture, he/she is likely to experience symptoms such as pain and swelling. Movements in the fractured area of your body are restricted for a period of time until recovery.
In sports, stress fractures are a common occurrence in high-impact sports such as soccer, track and field, and gymnastics.
Dislocations are joint injuries in which the ends of the bones are forced from their normal positions. It temporarily deforms and immobilizes your joint.
In sports, these injuries occur through a fall which is common in contact sports such as gymnastics and wrestling. Basketball and football players also tend to suffer dislocation in their hands or fingers as a result of striking a player, ball or the ground by accident. Athletes participating in these sports are vulnerable to such injuries.
When a person suffers from a dislocation, he/she will have a visibly deformed joint, swollen or discolored joint, intensely painful joint, or immovable joint.
How to Prevent These Injuries From Happening to You
It can sometimes be difficult to take good care of your physical condition when participating in sporting activities. Hence, it will be good to take note of these pointers and do the best you can to prevent yourself from sustaining any injuries:
1) Learn the Proper Technique
There are correct and wrong techniques for performance training and conditioning. Make sure learn the correct technique during training and practising it will protect yourself against injuries that can be avoidable.
If you are a football player, for instance, it is best that you learn the proper technique to tackle your opponent to avoid a concussion.
When you are doing an exercise for the very first time, make sure you do it in the right form. Otherwise, you risk sustaining an overuse injury as a result of doing the exercise consistently wrong.
2) Do Warm-Ups
Warm-ups are important before you engage in physical activities. Warm-up exercises help to increase your heart rate gradually, warm up your muscles, as well as improving mobility.
These prepare your body, heart, and mind for the activities you are about to participate in. It also facilitates the flow of blood and oxygen in your muscles, tendons, ligaments and flexible joints that will decrease the risk of sustaining injuries.
3) Do Cool Downs
Ensure that you do your cooldowns after taking part in sport activities or exercises. It should take 2 times as long as your warm-ups, lasting approximately 10 minutes which will allow your heart rate to return to normal.
Doing a cool down enables excess waste to be removed from your body. It also allows blood to carry oxygen and nutrients to flow into your muscles.
4) Stay Hydrated
When we exercise or participate in sporting activities, our body loses water quickly. Hence, it is important to constantly hydrate yourself whether you are doing so before, during, or after exercise.
Drinking water regulates your body temperature and allows muscle contraction. It also transports nutrients to give you the needed energy to engage in sporting activities.
By keeping yourself hydrated, it helps to prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.
5) Make Sure You Have Enough Rest
Rest plays an important role in determining how well you perform during your training or sport competitions. Having enough rest allows you to be more energetic and alert, while prevents you from fatigue, poor judgment and sustaining common sport injuries.
6) Wear the Right Gear
Ensure that you are in the appropriate gear when you are engaging in sporting activities. Shorts are often recommended for more mobility and able to adopt wider stances during activities. Pair with a dry-fit top to cool down your body better and hide all your precipation from heavy perspiration.
If you are cycling on public roads, don your protective gear which consists of a jockstrap, helmet (particularly important and regulated for road cyclists in Singapore) and gloves for more grip from the perspiration.
In addition, most sports require you to be in your footwear. It is therefore important to ensure your footwear is the right fit for you. Otherwise, wearing ill-fitting footwear increase your likelihood of suffering from injuries. Ill-fitting footwear causes all kinds of joint problems such as arthritis and knee pain. In a long run, it also affects your overall health.
Take care of your body
It always pays to take extra care of your body when engaging in sporting activities. We know that you want to be a better sportsman, or simply perform your best in physical activities.
Our personal trainer is dedicated to helping you achieve your fitness goals in the shortest possible time, under safest circumstances avoiding all these common sport injuries. Have a glimpse of your ‘better self’ through a structured fitness plan tailored for you by our instructor.