Now that summer is finally here, outdoor sports and activities are in full swing. From little league tournaments, to friendly pick-up games of basketball, kids and adults alike are playing their favorite sports.
Unfortunately, with any activity, there’s a risk for injury. Randy Highbaugh, Certified Athletic Trainer with ATI Sports Medicine, talks about some common summer sports injuries and offers tips to stay safe.
“With any physical activity, it’s important to remember to take a few minutes to stretch before you start,” says Randy. “Also, if you are going to use modalities such as heat and ice, remember to heat before activity to loosen muscles, and ice after to control soreness and swelling. Most importantly, listen to you body. If you are start to feel pain, stop and take a rest.”
Overuse: Injuries caused by repetitive motions over time.
- Elbow and Shoulder: A common area of injury among baseball and softball players. Be sure to properly warm-up and adhere to pitch-count recommendations offered for both sports.
- Golfer’s Elbow: Inflammation and pain in the tendons found on the inside of the elbow. The key to prevention is to proper warm-ups, avoid overuse and stop activity if you feel pain.
- Tennis Elbow: Caused by injury to the tendons on the outside of the elbow. Help prevent this injury by properly warming-up, avoid overuse and incorporating rest time in your schedule.
Muscle Strain: A strain is caused by a quick pull, twist or micro-tear of the muscle or tendon, especially when muscles are not stretched or warmed-up properly.
Muscle Sprain: Unlike a strain (which many use interchangeably) this injury affects the ligaments and is caused by the ligament being stretched beyond its capacity.
Concussion: When players suffer a blow to the head, it is important to check for signs of a concussion: feeling confused, difficulty thinking clearly, memory loss, feeling sluggish, headache or blurry vision and nausea or vomiting after a blow to the head. Players with symptoms after a blow to the head should NOT return to play the day the injury occurred, and should seek medical attention immediately.
If your injury presents with the following, Randy suggests seeking immediate medical attention:
- Severe swelling, pain or numbness.
- Inability to bear weight on, or utilize a limb.
- A dull pain that increases, and is accompanied by increased swelling or joint instability.
- Obvious fracture or dislocation.
- Feeling confused, difficulty thinking clearly, memory loss, feeling sluggish, headache or blurry vision and nausea or vomiting after a blow to the head.
If you are not experiencing the above symptoms, you can try treating the injury at home at first to see if symptoms decrease. Randy recommends the R.I.C.E. method during the first 48 hours:
- Rest – rest and/or stop using the injured body part and avoid painful activity.
- Ice – place a covered ice pack on the injured area for 15 minutes at a time, every 1-2 hours.
- Compression – use an ACE™ elastic wrap or compressive devise and wrap the injured area to help decrease swelling.
- Elevation – elevate the injured body part above the heart. Use a pillow to prop-up an injured limb.
If symptoms don’t subside after R.I.C.E. within 48 hours, Randy recommends seeking medical attention.