Playing a recreational sport as an adult can be a great way to stay fit and social.
An afternoon in the park playing a pick-up game of basketball or flag football can help you relieve stress, have fun, and stay in shape.
But organized sports can come with a risk. Every year, 8.6 million Americans sustain a sports or recreation-related injury.
Many of these injuries heal on their own over time, but some can be more serious.
A torn ACL, for example, often requires surgery that can cost upwards of $20,000 to $50,000 without insurance.
It's not always possible to prevent an injury, but you can be smart about the way you train and play sports.
Related post: 7 common sports injuries and how your chiropractor can help.
Taking a few precautions today might help you to avoid an injury down the line, which your body, and likely your wallet, will thank you for.
Below are the most common injuries adults get while playing an organized sport, and how to prevent them so you can stay active and healthy.
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A sprain is a ligament injury that often occurs when a sudden force is applied to a joint or to a bone that forms a joint.
A minor sprain can occur when a ligament is stretched.
Severe sprains occur when a ligament is completely ruptured or torn.
Sprains are very common in the ligaments of the ankle, knee, elbow, shoulder, and thumb.
Minor sprains involve some pain, swelling, and tenderness, which you usually can treat at home with the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).
Most minor sprains begin to feel better within two days and fully resolve within one to two weeks.
If you experience severe pain, swelling, bruising, or immobility, you could have a more severe sprain, and you should talk to your doctor right away.
Strains are also referred to as pulled muscles and are muscle tears caused by sudden stretching or forceful contraction, usually during a change of speed or direction.
Minor strains involve minimal torn or damaged muscle fibers, and a severe strain is a complete rupture of the muscle.
Strains are prevalent in the hamstring, quadriceps, calf, groin, rotator cuff and lower back muscles.
Symptoms include pain when contracting or stretching the muscle, tenderness, swelling, and bruising.
Most strains can be treated at home with the RICE method and begin to feel better within a few days of the injury.
You can return to your normal activities after the muscle strain feels better, and when the strained muscle regains the same flexibility and strength as the corresponding muscle on the other side of your body.
If you fear you have a severe strain and experience severe swelling, bruising, immobility, or pain that doesn't go away, talk to your doctor right away.
About 20% of sports injuries involve the shoulder joint, and more specifically, the rotator cuff.
Shoulder injuries are especially common in sports that involve throwing or swinging your arms overhead, like baseball, tennis, and swimming.
The overuse of your shoulder muscles can lead to inflamed tissues and shoulder impingement and even lead to a tear of your rotator cuff.
When shoulder injuries occur, the culprit is often a lack of strength, stabilization, or flexibility.
Many adult athletes find they're more susceptible to shoulder injuries when they haven't been using their shoulder muscles for a while.
The lack of use creates a decrease in strength and flexibility, making your shoulder susceptible to injury.
It's essential to stretch and strengthen all three heads of your deltoids muscle, especially during your sport's offseason.
If you do happen to hurt your shoulder, you can use the RICE method for recovery or visit your doctor for more severe injuries.
Fractures are broken bones that are often caused by traumatic injuries such as falls or collisions.
Fractures are usually easy to identify because the symptoms are severe and painful.
If you think you have a fracture, it's important to seek medical attention right away.
Your doctor will take an X-ray to see the extent and severity of your fracture.
Your treatment will largely depend on the location and extent of the fracture but may include immobilization with a cast for several weeks or surgery to repair the broken bones.
A concussion is a severe injury to the brain caused by an impact to the skull.
Although minor concussions usually resolve with rest, symptoms associated with severe or repeated concussions can last for a year or longer.
Symptoms of concussions vary in severity and can include:
- Mental confusion
- Memory loss
- Sensitivity to light
- Ringing in the ears
- Problems with balance
- Loss of consciousness
If you think you suffered a concussion, you need to stop the activity and seek immediate medical attention.
Concussion treatment typically involves rest until symptoms subside.
With your doctor's permission, you should resume athletic activities slowly and pay close attention to how you're feeling.
Preventing Sports Injuries
One of the best ways to avoid sports injuries is to train correctly for any athletic activity you're going to perform.
You also should wear the appropriate, properly fitted equipment for your chosen activity.
Adults should avoid performing the same activity repeatedly and alternate between strength training and cardiovascular exercise and get adequate rest between training sessions to prevent overexercising.
Another way to combat sports injuries is with chiropractic care.
Chiropractic care is a great way to keep your body healthy and functioning at an optimal level. Regular chiropractic care also gives your body the ability to heal itself, keeping you on the field and off of the sidelines.
To learn more about how chiropractic care can help with sports injuries, contact our Nashville Sports Injury Doctor at Advanced Injury Care by clicking the button below.