Summertime and the fair weather that accompany it offer us some terrific opportunities to stay active, social, and fit. In fact, we all know how enjoyable it can be to jump into that pickup game of soccer, squeeze in a few rounds of tennis, or finally conquer that 5k run. However, these summer sports and recreational activities can be risky — according to the Centers for Disease Control, over 8 million people get hurt in sports-related injuries each year, many during the summer season.
At Total Performance Physical Therapy, we provide physical therapy rehabilitation for patients throughout Hatboro and Horsham to get them back in the game stronger, better, and faster. And while injuries do occur, you can help your body to prevent them by properly training and preparing it for the rigors of the season. Let’s take a look at which summertime sports injuries are the most common, and how you can try to prevent them.
As our own Dr. Heather Moore mentioned in her recent article for the Philadelphia Inquirer, knee pain is among the most common types of injuries that occur during the summer season. These can include anything from simple strains to more serious injuries that could require a surgeon. Among the most common are Patellofemoral syndrome, otherwise known as “runner’s knee,” and IT band syndrome.
Runner’s knee is characterized by a painful sensation in the knee when the tendon below the kneecap becomes inflamed and irritated from overuse. Typically, runner’s knee will heal over time on its own. Cutting back on running can give it time to rest and recover.
IT band syndrome occurs when the iliotibial band that runs down the side of the leg becomes inflamed. The pain usually occurs at the knee where the tendon rubs against it. It is typically caused by muscle imbalances and can be treated with strengthening exercises and foam rolling, among other approaches.
These are actually quite common, especially for golfers and tennis players. Repetitive activities that can strain the forearm, wrist, and elbow can occur with people who perform motions like swinging a golf club or tennis racket. If you play either of these sports and experience this type of pain or discomfort, you may want to consider adjusting your form and taking some of the stress off the elbow. Additionally, you can ice the affected area to reduce swelling after vigorous activity and try some forearm strengthening exercises.
Muscle Pulls and Strains
When one of your muscles is suddenly stretched or pulled beyond its capacity, it can be a significant source of pain. Both groins and hamstrings are among the most common pulled muscle injuries, especially in runners and other athletes who incorporate sprinting into their training regimens. One of the most simple and effective ways to prevent a pulled muscle is to ensure that you’ve warmed up appropriately before engaging in any physical activity, particularly if you’re exerting yourself with high-intensity bouts of effort.
Sports like swimming, baseball, and others that involve overhead arm motions can put strain on the shoulders, especially the rotator cuff. Overuse in these areas can lead to inflammation in the muscles, pain, a reduced range of motion, and even a tear. These kinds of injuries are usually caused by a lack of flexibility, strength, or stabilization. To combat this, focus on stretching and strengthening the deltoid muscles, not just during the sports season, but all year round.
For more information on how to prevent common summertime injuries or to inquire about our aquatic therapy services in and around the Hatboro and Horsham areas, call us today at 215-703-2529.