Tennis Elbow and Beyond: A Closer Look at Tennis Injuries

shutterstock 181769753 Tennis Elbow and Beyond: A Closer Look at Tennis InjuriesThe 2014 US Open starts today. One of the major stories prior to the start of the tournament is that Rafael Nadal is sitting this one out due to injury. At only 28, Nadal has already won 14 Grand Slam singles titles but his aggressive playing style has taken a toll on his body. Nadal has suffered from many different injuries — mostly to his knee and wrist — over his career; this is the fifth tournament in his career where he has been sidelined due to injury. It leads many to wonder if Nadal would be the greatest tennis player of all time if he could only get his body to cooperate.

Whether you are a professional tennis player or you play for fun, injuries can always occur and ruin your game. In honor of the US Open, let’s take a closer look at tennis injuries and how they can be prevented.

Common Tennis Injuries

Overuse is the most common reason for tennis related injuries. Approximately two-thirds of all tennis injuries occur because of overuse. The other third is due to sudden injury or an acute event.

Tennis Elbow

You know an injury is common when it is named after the sport where it frequently occurs. Lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow, is a strain of the muscles and tendons in the elbow through repetitive motions. Tennis players can get tennis elbow by practicing their backhand swing repeatedly.

Shoulder Injuries

Swinging a tennis racket and firing off a powerful shot can put a great deal of stress on your shoulders. Tennis players often suffer from shoulder injuries.

Rotator cuff injuries are common. The rotator cuff helps position your shoulder in the socket. If you have a weak rotator cuff, it can cause irritation in the socket tissues as it moves around. This can lead to inflammation in the tendon or the bursa (Shoulder Bursitis), causing pain when you swing your racket overhead.

Lower Limb Injuries

Tennis is a full body workout and players must sprint from one side of the court to the other. The sudden pivot as a player takes off can put stress on the knee joints, tendons and ligaments resulting in knee injuries.

Any sport that requires running has the risk of ankle injuries. A sprained ankle is one of the most common tennis injuries. Even the greats like Roger Federer and Andrew Murray have suffered sprained ankles.

Preventing Tennis Injuries

With any sport, proper training and condition is crucial to injury prevention. This means warming up before a match as well as maintaining your fitness even in the offseason. Tennis is a fast paced sport that requires not just muscle strength but also endurance. You need to be able to sprint back and forth, backwards and forwards, throughout the match.

When strength training, focus on the shoulder muscles to help prevent rotator cuff injuries. Strengthen and stretch the wrist and forearm muscles to prevent tennis elbow, as these tend to absorb the most impact from the ball hitting your racket. Work on your core and back to further reduce the chance of injury.

For tennis, technique is extremely important not just to win but also to extend your career by reducing the risk of injury. Make sure you have the proper form for each type of swing. That said; try not to repeat the same swing too many times in a row. Mixing it up helps prevent overuse injuries but is also more in line with how a match will be played.

In addition, make sure you have the right equipment. Pay attention to the grip size of your racket. Make sure your footwear is supportive. If you are experiencing even minor pain, consider taping the area or wearing a brace for added support.

Sources:

http://www.stopsportsinjuries.org/tennis-injury-prevention.aspx

http://www.physioworks.com.au/Injuries-Conditions/Activities/tennis-injuries

The Best Ways to Prevent Football Injuries

football gear The Best Ways to Prevent Football InjuriesSummer is coming to an end and that means it’s almost football season! Football is America’s favorite pastime, but for the athletes themselves, the sport can be brutal on the body. Whether you’re a professional football player or enjoy throwing the ball around with friends, properly taking care of injuries is important. However, the best way to deal with football injuries is to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Most Common Injuries

Football is a heavy contact sport, and injuries are more of the norm than not. Around half of the injuries that occur happen in the lower extremities. A knee injury is one of the biggest complaints that players report. Cartilage tears and ruptures of the ACL are extremely common, as are tears of the PCL and MCL. Other injuries include sprains of the ankle and hamstring, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, and turf toe.

In the upper extremities, shoulder injuries may include separation, fracture of the clavicle, dislocation, and a torn rotator cuff. Broken fingers, and tendonitis and sprains of the wrist are also common.

Head injuries, especially concussions, are quite common, as are fractures, contusions, and dislocations.

Because of the long-term damage sustained from football injuries, particularly with concussions, there has been increased attention on preventing injuries from professional football leagues.

Causes of Football Injuries

Every move in football can cause injury. Injuries can be acute from a sudden blow, or cumulative from overuse. The different moves that are involved with playing football include running, passing, catching, and tackling. All of these pose a threat to the players’ body parts and can easily lead to injury.

In football, there are many sudden changes in direction and bursts of speed, which leads to many of the sprains and pulled muscles. When it comes to preventing football injuries, a lack of training, weak muscles, and structural abnormalities all lead to injuries as well, and are highly preventable.

How to Prevent Football Injuries

 Preventing football injuries is imperative to keep injuries at a minimum.

  • Before each season, the athlete should get a physical, to ensure that there aren’t any conditions that could limit participation.
  • Warm ups should occur before, and after, every practice and game. This ensures that the muscles stay loose and ready to handle the physical demands of the game.
  • Check the field before play to make sure that there are no potential hazards, such as debris or holes.
  • Proper equipment is a must. Pads, helmets, and mouth guards need to fit properly and be worn correctly. Along with the basic equipment, certain players should also wear additional supports and braces for the different extremities. These help players with instability issues, injury recovery, pain, and prevention.
  • Practice healthy living. This includes eating a nutritious diet, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep.
  • Many future injuries also result from returning too soon after a previous injury. Make sure that you are completely recovered before you go back on to the field.

How To Use Cold Therapy to Heal Swimming Injuries

swimming How To Use Cold Therapy to Heal Swimming Injuries

Swimming is a fun summer pastime as well as an extremely competitive sport. Luckily, swimming has a very low injury rate. The water softens impact and pools are often used for water therapy and rehabilitation. However, if you are a competitive swimmer, there are some potential injury risks. If you do sustain an injury, unlike other sports like basketball or soccer, braces and supports aren’t really an option in the pool. However, cold therapy can help you recover.

Common Swimming Injuries

Swimming is a full body sport that requires a combination of endurance and strength. Because swimming is a total body workout, most swimming-related injuries are overuse injuries. Like with most sports, proper training and conditioning can help reduce your risk of injury. If you find yourself with an injury from swimming, it will most likely be your shoulders, lower back or knees, as these are the most common places for swimming injuries.

Muscle Strain

Even with reduced impact from the water, muscles can still strain or tear while swimming. Most of these injuries occur during high speed swims. In addition to the shoulders, back and knees, muscle strains can also affect hamstrings, quadriceps, calf muscles and biceps.

Swimmer’s Shoulder

The term “swimmer’s shoulder” refers to shoulder pain in swimmers that usually caused by a combination of overuse and an impingement syndrome or tendonitis. Swimmer’s shoulder causes inflammation in the rotator cuff muscles which lie adjacent to the shoulder. Because the act of swimming involves overhead arm movements, shoulders can also suffer micro-traumas as a result of increased stress on the muscles and joints. This can lead to tendonitis in the rotator cuff, biceps or subacromial. Micro-traumas can be caused by a sudden increase in activity, existing shoulder issues or lack of proper technique.

Swimmer’s Knee

When you swim, your legs help to propel you through the water both by pushing off the wall and by kicking to increase speed. Improper kicking technique can lead to a condition called swimmer’s knee. Swimmer’s knee refers to knee injury caused by stress on the medial collateral ligament, which runs alongside the knee. This injury is most common in swimmers competing in the breaststroke because the ‘whip-kick’ technique used during this style affects the rotation of the medial collateral ligament. Swimmer’s knee, like other swimming injuries, can also be caused by overuse.

Cold Therapy Treatment

If you experience any of these injuries while swimming or after, cold therapy treatment can help ease the pain and get you back in the pool. Cold therapy uses the principles of the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). In the case of cold therapy, it’s ice and compression.

Using cold compression helps to reduce pain and swelling from injuries. The cold slows down the bloodflow to the injury, reducing inflammation. Cold therapy is good for minor injuries like sprains, muscle strains or muscle soreness. While cold therapy helps ease pain and swelling, more severe injuries should be examined by a doctor.

The best way to apply cold therapy is through an ice or gel pack 24 to 48 hours after the injury occurs. Apply cold packs to your injury for 20 minutes at a time, taking at least 10 minutes in between applications.

If your injury persists or worsens, consult your doctor; you may have a more serious injury that requires physical therapy and/or surgery.

 

Sources:

http://www.physioworks.com.au

http://www.enjoy-swimming.com/swimming-injuries.html

http://www.stopsportsinjuries.org/swimming-injury-prevention.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_compression_therapy

http://urcm.rochester.edu

http://www.physiotherapyprofessionals.com

http://www.Medic8.com

 

Stay on the Green by Preventing Golf Injuries

GolfBB Stay on the Green by Preventing Golf InjuriesGolf is both a competitive sport and a relaxing pastime for young and old. Whether you play professionally or just as a way to unwind, golf is still a sport which can cause serious injury. Most golf injuries come from overuse; repetitive swinging motions that wear on muscles and joints which can lead to injury. However, like with most sports, injuries can be prevented if you have an understanding of what they are and what causes them. Simply a change in form can make all the difference.

 

Common Golf Injuries

Golfer’s Elbow

One of the most common golf injuries is Golfer’s Elbow or medial epicondylitis. Medial epicondylitis is an inflammation of the tendons that attach your forearm muscles to your elbow. Inflammation is caused by repeating the same motions — in this case, swinging a golf club — over and over again.

Lower Back Pain

Another common injury that golfers experience is lower back pain. Back pain can be caused by pulling or straining the muscles in your lower back during your swing or from carrying your golf bag. Also, people who suffer from chronic back pain might have difficulty with their golf game.

Wrist Injuries

Golfers often sustain wrists injuries. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is an overuse injury that affects the median nerve in your wrist. The median nerve travels from your wrist to your forearm through the carpal tunnel. In addition to the nerve, the carpal tunnel also contains flexor tendons so when swelling occurs, they put pressure on the median nerve. CTS can be minor to serious depending on the extent of the injury.

Another wrist injury golfers might experience is DeQuervain’s Tendinitis. DeQuervain’s Tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons in the thumb, causing pain in the wrist near where your thumb connects to it.

Other wrist injuries include Wrist Impaction Syndrome, which is caused caused when the bones of the wrist bang into one another during repetitive movements and ECU Tendon Subluxation, which is when the sheath holding the wrist tendon begins sliding around.

Knee Pain

Knee pain and injury has plagued even professional golfers like Tiger Woods. It can be caused by any number of issues including arthritis, a torn meniscus or an ACL tear.

 

Prevention

There are several things you can do prior to stepping on the green to keep your golf game from being impacted by injury.

Warming up might seem a little silly since golf is a lower impact sport, but stretching and preparing your muscles before any sport is recommended. Stretch out your arms, back and legs. Practice your swing, starting off slowly at first to check your form.

If you are finding yourself sore after a round of golf, try conditioning between games. Light exercise like walking or jogging can help to strengthen your muscles, or try an electric muscle stimulator to help you recover from soreness but also build up muscles in your arms, legs and back to reduce your risk of injury.

Make sure your swing isn’t the issue. Swinging a golf club is a full body motion, utilizing multiple muscle groups as you simultaneously turn your body while hitting the ball. Think to yourself: how’s my posture? Are my feet shoulder-width apart? Am I hunching over? Having proper form before you swing can help reduce the risk of injury. When you do hit the ball, make sure your swing is fluid. Don’t try to hit the ball too hard. Harder swings don’t necessarily mean a better game. Work on having a smooth, consistent tempo.

If you’re carrying your own bag, make sure to keep your back straight and use the strength of your legs to lift. This will help reduce the risk of back injury.

Proper footwear is also key. Just like with soccer, having the right cleats is important. Golf shoes with short cleats are recommended. Long cleats can dig too far into the ground, locking your foot down when you swing which can lead to knee injuries like a torn ACL.

With the right preparation, golf can be a fun, relaxing game. Stay safe and keep swinging!

 

Sources:

http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00137

http://www.med.nyu.edu/pmr/residency/resources/PMR%20clinics%20NA/PMR%20clinics%20NA_sports%20med/golf%20injuries%20and%20rehab.pdf

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/golf/art-20047434

http://golf.about.com/od/fitnesshealth/tp/commoninjuries.htm

http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/sports-and-spine-injuries/golf-and-low-back-pain

http://www.cybergolf.com/golf_news/carpal_tunnel_syndrome_golf

Comeback Stories: Athletes Who Have Overcome Injury

ComebackStories Comeback Stories: Athletes Who Have Overcome Injury

For a professional athlete, nothing is scarier than suffering a serious injury. The consequences of an injury can be anything from missing a few games to never stepping on the field again. However, throughout the history of sports, players have beaten the odds and come back from injury better than ever. While there are many stories of triumph over injury, here are a few of our favorites.

Drew Brees

Drew Brees is one of the most well known quarterbacks in the NFL. But back in 2005, Brees suffered a torn labrum and a partially torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder in the final Chargers game of 2005.

The offseason was difficult for Brees; the Chargers’ offer rested heavily on performance incentives and many other teams were scared off by his shoulder injury. However, the New Orleans Saints took a chance on the proven QB and offered him a better deal.

Brees proved that his shoulder was in great shape from the start. During the 2006 season, he threw a league-leading 4,418 passing yards as well as 26 touchdowns, helping the Saints finish with a 10–6 regular season record and the NFC South division title. Then in 2010 Brees led the Saints to a Super Bowl XLIV victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Not too shabby.

Curt Schilling

The Boston Red Sox were the source of heartbreak from many New Englanders. Supposedly cursed by trading Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees, the “Curse of the Bambino” prevented the Sox from World Series glory for 86 years. Then in 2004, after being down 3 games to the Yankees in the AL Championship Series, the Sox rallied.

Pitcher Curt Schilling, an standout over the course of the season, injured his ankle in Game 1. With everything on the line, Schilling still started Game 6. Team doctors had stitched a tendon in his right ankle to keep it stabilized. During the game, a small pool of blood starting to form on Schilling’s sock. But despite the now famous “bloody sock” Schilling led the Sox to a Game 6 victory and helped send them to the 2004 World Series, which they ultimately won.

Rajon Rondo

Like other Boston sports teams, the Celtics are often one of the top teams in their league. While on the Celtics, point guard Rajon Rondo was a standout player and one of the stars of the team.

Unfortunately, during Game 3 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Rondo dislocated his elbow after getting tangled up with the Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade. A dislocated elbow would spell the end of the game for most people, but not Rondo. He returned to the court at the beginning of the 4th quarter and finished the game with 11 assists, helping lead Boston to a victory over the Heat.

In 2013, Rondo was voted the starting point guard spot for the NBA All-Star Game. However it was later revealed that Rondo had torn his ACL during the Celtics January clash with the Heat. He would have to sit out the rest of the season.

This past January, Rondo made his return. Despite being a “rebuilding year” for the Celtics, Rondo’s performance continues to improve. On February 2, 2014, in a 96-89 win over the Orlando Magic, Rondo recorded his first double-double since his injury with 19 points and 10 assists. Then in April, despite losing to the 76ers, Rondo recorded his first triple-double of the season with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and 16 assists.

Kerry Strug

Perhaps one the most famous moments in recent Olympic history, Kerry Strug of the US Women’s Gymnastic team wouldn’t let something like torn ankle ligaments keep her from going for the gold.

During the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, GA, the US Women’s’ Gymnastic team, aptly dubbed The Magnificent Seven, was on fire. However, on her first vault attempt, Strug injured her left ankle upon landing. Prior to her attempt, her teammate Dominique Moceanu fell twice on her vault attempts, registering a poor score. In order to win gold, Strug would have to not only attempt a second vault but stick the landing.

And stick it she did! Strug landed her second vault on one foot, securing enough points for the US to edge out Russia for the gold. For her inspirational performance, she was invited to meet with then-President Bill Clinton, made several talk show appearances and graced the covers of both Sports Illustrated and Wheaties cereal boxes.

Tiger Woods

Probably one of the most famous golfers of this generation, Tiger Woods stormed onto the scene in 1996 and has been a fixture of the sport ever since. He has won 14 major championships including the Masters and U.S. Open and received numerous awards.

During the 2008 U.S. Open, Woods suffered a double stress fracture and a ruptured ACL in his knee. Despite the injury, Woods was able to sink a 12 foot birdie and force an 18-hole playoff against Rocco Mediate. Woods prevailed and took home his third U.S. Open title.

Donovan McNabb

Can you play football with a broken ankle? If you’re Donovan McNabb, you can. The now retired all-star quarterback spent 13 seasons in the NFL, most notably with the Philadelphia Eagles.

In 2002, in a regular season game against the Arizona Cardinals, McNabb broke his right ankle after being sacked. It was originally thought to be a bad sprain, however x-rays later showed he had broken his fibula in three places! After taping the injured ankle, he returned to the game and went 20-25 for 255 yards and threw 4 touchdowns. The Eagles won in 38-14 victory.

Bethany Hamilton

Sometimes, tragedy strikes and an injury becomes permanent disability. Bethany Hamilton was a 13 year old up-and-coming surf star when a tiger shark attack took her left arm. For a surfer, balance is everything but the loss of a limb wasn’t enough to keep Hamilton from the water. About a month after the injury, she was back surfing. By January of 2004, she entered her first competition since the attack and placed 5th. The following year, she was back to form placing 1st in the NSSA National Competition and O’Neill Island Girl Junior Pro tournament.

Besides regaining her status as a top competitor in the surfing world, Hamilton’s story of overcoming the odds made her a media sensation. She has appeared on numerous TV shows from The Biggest Loser to Oprah and in 2004, had her book Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board published. In 2011, a movie version of Soul Surfer was released starring Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt.

These are just a few stories of athletes finding the strength to push through injury but there are many more. Share some of your favorite moments in the comments.

 

Sources:

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-athletes-playing-hurt-pictures-photogallery.html

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/845881-the-20-biggest-injury-comebacks-in-sports

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drew_Brees#2005

http://espn.go.com/golf/story/_/id/10709728/tiger-woods-injury-line

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donovan_McNabb#2000.E2.80.9303:_NFC_East_Championship_Runs