Category Archives: Sports Injuries

TENNIS ELBOW

Tennis elbow occurs when you damage the tendons that connect the muscles of your forearm to your elbow. The pain may spread down your arm to your wrist.Tendinitis can affect the inner or outer elbow. The most common symptom of tennis elbow is pain on the outside of the elbow. The cause of tennis elbow injuries can result from overuse or making aggressive twist.  Repeated movements that involve twisting of the elbow can cause small tears in the tendon, which then weakens it. Overuse depends on how hard or how long you do something.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can show problems in soft tissues such as tendons and muscles.The most important part of treatment is to rest the tendons.  A long rest from aggravating activity allows the small tears in the tendon to heal. You can also take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin or ibuprofen.

Keep in mind that corticosteroid injections are not pain relievers. They reduce inflammation. When corticosteroids relieve pain, it is because they have reduced inflammation. Corticosteroid injections can help relieve pain for only a short period of time.  When your pain is gone, start doing stretching and strengthening exercises. You should then gradually increase these exercises and learn the correct techniques and which equipment is best for your activities.  The treatment of tennis elbow should be directed at both the tennis elbow as well as the underlying cause. Hypnotherapy may provide effective relief for pain associated with tennis elbow. Some other possible options for treatment may include:

  1. Body Therapy
  2. Mind-Body Medicine
  3. Acupressure Therapy
  4. Exercise Therapy
  5. Massage Therapy
  6. Herbal Therapy

By taking lessons to learn the proper technique for sports, such as tennis and golf that require grasping and twisting motions in the arm, you can prevent tennis elbow.  Other ways to prevent tennis elbow include:

  • Try to stay in good physical shape.
  • Using the correct techniques and movements during activities.
  • Using equipment appropriate for your ability, body size, and body strength.
  • Not overusing your arm with repeated movements that can injure your tendon.
  • Strengthening the muscles of your arm, shoulder, and upper back to help take stress off of your elbow.

tennis elbow

MUSCLE CRAMPS

muscle crampsCAUSES – Muscle cramps are commonly associated with physical activity such as sports or activities that one isn’t accustomed to doing.  It is possible that cramps may come during the activity or later, sometimes many hours later (at bedtime).   Muscle fatigue from sitting or lying for an extended period in an awkward position or any repetitive use (typing) can cause cramps.  Low blood levels of either calcium or magnesium directly increase the excitability of both the nerve endings and the muscles they stimulate.  Muscle cramps can come from problems with circulation, nerves, metabolism, hormones, medications, and nutrition. 

TREATMENT – If the muscle can be stretched, the cramps can be stopped.  For cramps of the feet and legs, stretching can often be done by standing up and walking around.  A calf muscle cramp, the person can stand a few feet from a wall and lean into the wall to place the forearms against the wall with the knees and back straight and the heels in contact with the floor.   Another technique involves flexing the ankle by pulling the toes up toward the head while still lying flat with the leg as straight as possible.  If you massage the muscle, you will help it to relax.

PREVENTION – It is always a good idea to stretch before and after exercise or sports. You should also do adequate warm-up and cool down exercises, to prevent cramps that are caused by physical activity. Good hydration before, during, and after the activity is important, especially if the duration exceeds one hour.   You should try to replace lost electrolytes (especially sodium and potassium, which are major components of perspiration) by hydrating your body.  Adequate calcium, magnesium, and potassium are important aspects of prevention of night cramps.  Since vitamin E is thought to have other beneficial health effects and is not toxic in usual doses, taking 300 units of vitamin E daily can help prevent night cramps.

HAMSTRING INJURY

hamstring injuryCAUSES – Individuals that more susceptible to hamstring injuries are professional athletes and dancers.  By over stressing or tearing the muscle fibers and suddenly twisting, strengthening, or over extending the thigh, an injury can occur.

TREATMENT – For the most part, a hamstring injury will heal itself; but it may take a few weeks to fully recover.  You will need to rest, ice the area, use compression, and keep the injury elevated (RICE).  Your physician may recommend aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve the pain.  A massage by a trained therapist can help with over stressed muscles.

PREVENTION – By keeping your body in good physical condition, you can lessen your chances of getting a hamstring injury.  Be sure to warm up briefly by doing light stretches.

GROIN STRAIN

Anatomy of the groin musclesCAUSES – Bruising or tearing of the muscle that travels from the pelvis down to the thighs is one of the causes of a groan strain.  You can get groin pull by overexertion or lifting heavy objects improperly.

TREATMENT – A minor groin pull will heal on its own by resting for a few hours or a few days.  A torn muscle will take a week or more to heal.  Surgery may be needed in severe recurring cases to repair the muscle and tendons.  An ice pack should be administered to the area as soon as possible to reduce the swelling and inflammation. To relieve the pain, take an aspirin or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.  A specialist may be needed if the groin injury is due to an athletic injury.  Alternative treatments center on pain relief and rest until the muscles and tendons restore themselves to their normal condition.

PREVENTION – Yoga or moderate exercise is ideal to warm up your muscles before staring any strenuous activity.  Stretching after an activity will prevent post-activity spasms.