If you play sports, you know that injuries can occur without warning. Minor injuries result in pain and swelling, but severe injuries may require surgery and longer time in rehabilitation. Proper rehabilitation is not only important to get back to where you were before the injury occurred, but to train to be even better than before and heighten your physical performance in order to prevent the injuries from occurring again in the future. According to experts at The CORE Institute, ankle, knee, and hamstring injuries are not only three of the most common injuries that can occur for athletes, but they’re also three of the top injuries that recur most frequently. So here’s some background and advice on approaching proper rehabilitation for these particular areas of common injury.
Ankle sprains are common injuries that occur when the ligaments around the ankle joint are stretched too far. Typically a loud pop is followed by pain and swelling. Depending on the severity of the sprain, the injury can cause mild pain and swelling or immobility. Ankle sprains are extremely popular in sports and it’s not that uncommon to see them recur on the same ankle if the sprain wasn’t rehabbed properly. Again, this is why it’s crucial to focus on not only getting your injury back to a sufficient condition, but to strengthen it to where it’s strong enough to hold up and not feel pain in future performances.Surgical treatment for ankle sprains is rare, but sprains that don't respond to non-surgical treatment may require surgery to stabilize the ankle. Most ankle surgeries can be performed using an arthroscopic operating procedure process:
- Arthroscopy – A surgical procedure used by orthopedic surgeons to repair joint problems. A few small incisions are made, then an arthroscope, a tiny camera, is inserted to look for loose bone, cartilage, and ligament damage. Small arthroscopic instruments are inserted for surgical repairs.
RehabilitationOnce you sprain something like an ankle, it’s easy to sprain it once again if not properly taken care of. Rehab should begin with simple range of motion exercises like stretching the foot up and down, side to side, and in circular motions to restore strength and flexibility to the ankle joint. When pain and swelling is gone, isometric and isotonic resistance exercises can be added.
Knee injuries range from mild sprains to torn ligaments and cartilage, ruptured tendons and trauma to the kneecap. Depending on severity, a knee injury can cause pain, swelling, immobility, knee instability and inflexibility (knee locks up). Minor injuries may respond to non-surgical treatments, but major knee injuries like a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) may require an arthroscopic operating procedure (see above). Regardless, both cases need extensive rehabilitation.
Knee injuries require physical therapy and training to strengthen muscles and tendons. With knee injuries, muscles surrounding the knee, the quadriceps, hamstring, and calf muscles, become weak. Fitness experts at Active
are very well in the know of the best and worst practices for bad knees and that stretching and strengthening exercises for these muscles are essential to regain proper knee support. Depending on where the tear occurred, resistance at particular angles to strengthen the muscles and new ligaments should start small. Once you’re at a point where no pain is felt upon performing these types of exercises, more strenuous strength training can begin. It is crucial not to overdo it for the knees in order to have them rehabilitate properly.
Hamstring injuries range from strained and pulled muscles to severe tears and muscle rupture. Depending on severity, hamstring injuries can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, bruising, limited range of motion and difficulty walking. Minor injuries usually respond to non-surgical treatments, but in severe injuries where the tendon separates from the bone, surgery is required in order to reattach. Since hamstring injuries involve muscles instead of joints, arthroscopic surgery is not used.To repair a tendon tear or ruptured muscle, a surgeon must pull the hamstring muscle back into place and remove scar tissue. The tendon is reattached to the bone using large stitches or staples and a ruptured muscle is sewn back together using stitches.
When pain and swelling subsides, begin stretching and strengthening training as soon as possible. Hamstring injuries can take time to heal. Proper training will get you back to where you were before the injury occurred. Eventually, incorporating squatting, power jumps, and explosive leg motions into your rehabilitation regimen will help you to get your hamstrings back into peak physical condition.The main idea in following proper muscle and joint rehabilitation programs for these three popular sports injuries is to be able to return any injured athlete to their game at their level of performance before the injury occurred with lowered percentages of the injury recurring. If you or someone you know has ever been injured due to a common sports related accident, keep in mind during your rehabilitation that if you’re sticking to your exercises and your area of injury stops hurting or is feeling stronger, then the rehab is working! But don’t stop! Never stop your rehab as soon as you begin to feel your strength is back. It’s imperative to continue these exercises in order to have your body in a strong state to avoid any repeated injuries that can set you back even farther than before. The Art of Personal Training by Kisar Dhillon107 SE Washington StreetSuite 137Portland, Oregon 97214503-953-0241