Injury Free Summer

Avoid sporting an injury this summer

By Andrea Young, MD
Valley Bugler Newspaper Summer is a great time to get active and enjoy outdoor sports, but the thrill of playing can quickly turn into the agony of injury.

Injuries can be caused by a variety of things, including accidents, poor conditioning or training practices, not wearing the proper equipment, or inadequate stretching or warmup before playing.

According to the National Institutes of Health, some of the most frequent sports injuries include:

Achilles tendon in- juries

You can injure your Achilles tendon by stretching, tearing or irritating this thick cord (tendon), which attaches the back of your heel to your calf muscles.

• What it feels like: You know you’ve got an Achilles tendon problem if you have pain that gradually gets worse with exercise. An injured Achilles ten- don will also often feel painful and stiff in the morning.

• How it happens: Tendonitis is the most common cause of Achilles ten- don injuries. These types of injuries often occur in middle-aged, part- time athletes who do not warm up or stretch properly before games or practices.

Sprains and strains

A sprain happens when you pull or tear a ligament. A strain occurs when you twist, stretch or tear a muscle or tendon.

• What it feels like: If you have bruising, swelling, tenderness and pain or are unable to move your limb or joint, you may have a sprain. With a strain, you may feel pain or have a muscle spasm or loss of strength.

• How it happens: Some type of trauma, such as a fall or blow that knocks a joint out of place, is usually the cause of a sprain. You’re most likely to sprain your ankles, knees or wrists. Strains usually are the result of excessive contraction or overstretch- ing of a muscle or tendon. Your feet or legs are the parts of your body you’re most likely to strain.

Stress fractures

A stress fracture is an overuse in- jury. If you consistently put pressure on a bone over a long period of time, a tiny crack may occur in that bone.
• What it feels like:

If you have pain at the site that worsens when you’re active and eases when you’re not, you may have a stress fracture. Tenderness and swelling often accompany the pain.

• How it happens: You’re most likely to get a stress fracture in your feet or legs. Sports that involve your foot repeatedly striking the ground— such as tennis, track and field, and basketball—are often causes of stress fractures.

Knee injuries

Because your knee is so complex with many different components, it’s vulnerable to a variety of injuries, often involving ligaments and cartilage.

• What it feels like: If you hurt your knee, you may feel pain or tenderness under your kneecap at the front or side of your knee. You may also hear a popping noise, have severe pain and be unable to move your knee.

• How it happens: Landing wrong after a jump, getting hit on the front or outside of the knee during a contact sport, or simply changing directions rapidly while running—there are all sorts of ways you can hurt your knee when participating in sports such as football, soccer, skiing or basketball.

No matter your injury stay connect- ed to your doctor. Your doctor is your partner in your health and can help you with creating the proper steps to prevent these injuries.

Andrea Young, MD; PeaceHealth Medical Group, Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine

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