As more and more people are now taking to the gym and increasing their activity levels it unfortunately gives rise to an increase in sports related Injury. There's never a good time to get injured and we want to avoid it as much as possible but how do we do this?
Well, looking at the more common types of sport related injuries may help. So, what is THE most common sports injury?
The good old Ankle Sprain is reported to be the most common Injury in athletic
populations, accounting for 30% of all sports injuries (Fong et al, 2007). The ankle sprain refers to damage to the ligaments of the ankle where they are overstretched from increased forces and will mainly affect the ligaments on the lateral (outside) side. Symptoms will be mainly felt following a twist of the ankle and you will experience pain to the outside of the ankle but we can also see inflammation and bruising in more severe cases.
There are 3 grades of injury which relates to the severity and amount of damage caused.
Grade I - (mild) stretching or minor tearing to one or more of the ligaments
Grade II - (moderate) partial tear to one or more of the ligaments
Grade III - (severe) complete tear to one of more of the ligaments resulting in joint instability
Who's at risk?
Anyone who plays sports that involves a lot of jumping or change of direction will be more at risk as this will give more chance of twisting the ankle. Other risk factors like poor footwear, uneven surfaces or previous ankle injuries will also increase the chances.
What do we do if it happens to us?
If you suffer a twist to your ankle and suspect a sprain it's important to ensure you follow PRICE (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) for the first 48-72 hours. It's also important to avoid any HARM (Heat, Alcohol, Running or Massage) for the first 72 hours as this can make things worse. Most Grade I injuries can be managed with this and you can return to normal activity quite soon. If however you experience inflammation and bruising along with pain for more than a few days
(Grade II and III) it's important to get things assessed by a Sports Injury Specialist as soon as possible as this will likely need appropriate treatment and rehabilitation. If left it can cause chronic problems and result in further sprains later down the line.
How do we prevent this type of injury?
Prevention is always the best cure and to help reduce the chances of suffering this common Injury then there's simple advice to follow:
Warm up appropriately prior to exercise
Ensure you wear supportive footwear appropriate for the activity you are doing
Make sure the area you are exercising in is clear of anything you can trip or step on
Where possible avoid uneven or bumpy surfaces
Build strength to the muscles in the lower limb. Balance exercises are good - try standing on one leg with your eyes closed!
So, hopefully now you know how to avoid THE most common sports Injury it will reduce your chances of falling fowl during your exercise sessions. If however you are struggling with any Injuries or you would like any further information on what has been discussed then please don't hesitate to get in touch with me in clinic.
Hands On Sports Therapy
Fong DT, Hong Y, Chan LK, Yung PS, Chan KM. A systematic review on ankle injury and ankle sprain in sports. Sports Med. 2007;37:73-94