No one wants an injury to put a stop to their fitness gains right? And I’m sure you have asked yourself, are sports injuries common enough for them to actually impact me in the first place? Injuries are something that happen to everyone else, not me surely...
Unfortunately for all of us, in the world of sport, fitness and exercise, injuries are a given and we will all experience these at some point on our fitness journey. They are devastating of course, but knowing what to look out for can actually be a great way to avoid them happening in the first place.
That’s why in the next couple of blogs we are going to be sharing a short guide to sports injuries. What they are, what might cause them and how we can spot them and hopefully stop them.
First of all, these blogs should by no means be taken as a formal diagnosis of any injury you may have. However, if in doubt, we recommend that you stop your current fitness routine and seek expert advice. And especially so if you are experiencing any severe pain or a significant reduction in activity due to injury, we would always recommend going to see your GP or another trained professional who can assess your condition properly.
Let’s get to it…
What are sports injuries?
Sports injuries often refer to the types of injuries that happen whilst we are playing sports or during exercise. And according to the fantastic NHS here in the UK, sports injuries can affect almost any part of the body, including the muscles, bones, joints and connective tissues (that’s our tendons and ligaments).
Whilst we can damage any part of the body during exercise, the phrase ‘sports injury’ is more often than not used to refer to injuries to the musculoskeletal system (the parts of the body that hold us together and enable movement).
What are the main causes of sports injuries?
Sports injuries are commonly caused by the overuse of a muscle, joint or movement. Or just too much impact and force than the body part is able to structurally cope with. This is why running and especially contact sports like football and rugby for example, are often top of the list when it comes to the origin of sports injuries.
Sports injuries can also be caused by other factors such as direct trauma to parts of the body and incorrect movement patterns during exercise or even when we are not active! It is also not uncommon for sports injuries to be related to poor posture.
Every movement and position we put our body through on a daily basis has the potential to incorrectly load the structural components of the body and intense exercise will only exacerbate an underlying problem and the way we spend our days when we are not active is perhaps overlooked when looking at the cause and prevention of specific sports injuries.
Over the last 12 months during the coronavirus pandemic, we have all been spending a lot more time indoors and sat down which can cause a whole host of problems. Sitting down puts a lot of pressure on our back, neck, shoulders, our hips and even our knees too. All things you don’t want to be worried about as an injury to any one of those can stop you in your tracks.
We might think then, when we are up and moving and a little ‘busier’ in our lives per say, that this might be better. It probably isn’t and here’s why…
Consider this, when we are busy with work, family commitments, social activities and everything else in between, sport or exercise can sometimes be that thing we fit in. Because of this, we are perhaps not allowing ourselves ample time and opportunity to warm up and cool down correctly which if done consistently can become a significant risk factor for injury.
As motivated as we might be mentally for exercise, unfortunately our bodies need that little bit of time and attention to quite literally warm up and prepare for exercise. Not doing so increases our risk of stressing our body too much and too soon and therefore increases the risk of developing an injury as a result.
What we can learn from all of this is that whilst we may call them ‘sports’ injuries, you don’t actually have to be participating in sport to have a sports injury. They can affect all of us and different ways.
Sports injuries, joint health, sports injuries to the knee, sports injuries to the lower back; however it manifests for you it is a valid concern whether you play sports or not. We are all different at the end of the day and all of us chasing different goals and performing uniquely to our very own level.
What this also means is that injury prevention is something that absolutely everyone needs to consider and it is something that is really important to us here at U Perform but more on that later this week!
So we have touched upon what sports injuries actually are and what might cause them. Next up we wanted to be a bit more specific and highlight some real world examples. Terms and phrases you might be familiar with already, but for those less in the know, they will help you understand how sports injuries manifest themselves in day to day life.
What are some of the most common sports injuries?
In no particular order then, here are some of the most common sports injuries in the UK:
- Patellofemoral syndrome or ‘Runner’s Knee’
- Knee injuries (ACL tear)
- Shin splints
- Ankle sprains
- Hamstring strains
- Pulled groin
- Tennis elbow
As you can see, a staggering 6 out of 7 of these are all lower limb related and perhaps even reading this now, you can say you have experienced at least one of these.
This just reinforces our point even more; injuries are going to happen whether we like it or not, and being prepared to cope with this both physically and mentally should be something we should ALL aspire to.
Thanks for reading our blog this week! Don’t forget to check later this week for part 2 as we go into even more detail on how to spot the tell-tale signs of sports injuries and what exactly we mean by ‘injury prevention.’ See you then!
Have you ever had a sports injury? How did it affect your fitness and exercise programme? Let us know in the comments below. We love hearing from the U Perform family and helping you in any way we can!