Summer is almost here again, and with it comes the fun of playing outside. Unfortunately, along with the playing come the injuries. Some summer activities include hiking, jogging, bicycling, softball, football, basketball, skateboarding, maybe even some skydiving and bungee jumping. All of these are fun activities that many people enjoy. But also, all of these activities inevitably produce injuries.
Which such a sundry amount of sports related injuries; it”s difficult to pinpoint which one is the most common. In fact, there are so many sports related injuries; an entire field of medicine, called sports medicine, has been dedicated to them.
Some of the more oft occurring injuries seem to be ankle and knee related injuries. I”m sure many of you have twisted or sprained an ankle at one time or another, but beyond a simple sprain, Achilles tendon injuries can be very severe and require surgery and/or rehabilitation.
Knee related injuries must follow in closely behind ankle injuries. Being the largest joint in the body, and bearing the brunt of impact when running or jumping- along with the constant flexing and extending of walking or bicycling- the knee goes through a lot. All of this activity wears on the joint and often inflammation will occur. This is usually minor and can be remedied with an ice pack and some ibuprofen, but the more severe injuries, again, may require surgery or rehabilitation.
Baseball and tennis follow closely with elbow related injury. Tennis elbow, (Epitrochlear bursitis; Lateral epicondylitis) is an inflammation with soreness and pain on the lateral side (outside) of the upper arm near the elbow. Often there may be a tendon tear (tendons connect the muscle to the bone) in more severe cases. Although it is called tennis elbow, you don”t have to play tennis to suffer this ailment. Repetitive motion of the arm may cause it, painters and plumbers, carpenters swinging a hammer all day, butchers, or even an office worker on a keyboard all day may suffer from this.
Baseball elbow is also an ailment of the elbow, but it differs from tennis elbow. The motion of the arm during throwing is different from the motion of the arm during say, a back swing, so the injury is different. Also along with baseball elbow, throwing the baseball with great force and at high velocity can cause a tear in the rotator cuff of the shoulder. There have even been cases of bones breaking during the throw of a baseball.
Let”s not overlook the impact injuries in sports like soccer and football; shin impact injuries are very common in soccer. Children”s leagues and school leagues often require players to wear shin guards to prevent shin injuries. Football players wear a lot of protective gear but even then there are impact injuries. Broken bones are not uncommon in football.
Skateboarding probably singlehandedly sends more kids to the emergency room than any other sport. This is probably because a lot of skateboarders do not wear the proper protective gear that could prevent injury from a simple fall, but without the gear a simple fall can cause severe enough injury to merit a trip to the ER to get patched up.
Many sports related injuries are inevitable and unavoidable, but many can be prevented simply by wearing the proper protective gear and by properly training and conditioning your body for the activities that you intend to partake of. After all, you wouldn”t skydive without a parachute, so why would you go dirt bike riding without a helmet? Summer is almost here, have fun, but play safe.