With the arrival of long days and warm nights, summer is a great time to take part in a sporting activity. Many people only practise sports in the warmer summer months. However, injuries can occur to both ‘fair weather’ types and the more dedicated year-round athlete. The most common cause of sports injuries during the summer months is over use of muscles or joints. This can cause longer term injuries, especially if you are not used to exercise.
A major cause of injuries in the summer is that people don’t warm up properly. It is never a good idea to start exercising excessively without even giving the muscles and joints a chance to get accustomed to a new activity. De-hydration can also cause injuries. Staying adequately hydrated will keep your muscles working properly and help prevent cramps and pulled muscles.
Here is an overview of some of the most common sports injuries that occur in the summer months.
Tennis is one of the most popular sports to play during the summer. However, overuse of the predominant arm can lead to ‘tennis elbow’. Tennis elbow effects the upper arm, forearm, wrist and hand muscles. Overuse or a sudden, unfamiliar movement can cause a tear in the tendons surrounding the elbow. Pain usually develops gradually and most people only realise there is a problem when they find it increasingly painful to lift objects, shake hands or even brush their teeth.
Sports massage can help to alleviate pain and speed up recovery. Soft tissue therapy will help flush out the toxins by delivering oxygen to the injured part and re-align the damaged fibres.
Swimming is a fantastic sport, especially during the summer. However one of the most common injuries that can occur is ‘swimmer’s shoulder’. The rotator cuff muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder become inflamed through overuse, resulting in a deep ache in the neck and shoulder area.
If left untreated, the tendons can tear, causing serious damage to the rotator cuff area. Sports massage techniques can help improve blood flow to the area, relax tense muscles and with continuous therapy, break down scar tissues in the shoulder.
Running, hiking, playing tennis are great summer activities but one of the most common injuries that can occur is a sprained ankle. A sprained ankle is caused by a sudden twist or roll, causing the ligaments to stretch, and in severe cases, tear.
Immediate treatment involves reducing the swelling using RICE:
For more severe injuries, sports massage may be needed to prevent stiffness, increase ankle mobility and strengthen the muscles surrounding the area.
Shin splints refer to an acute pain along the tibia in the front of your lower leg. It is very common with runners. It is mainly caused by running with inappropriate footwear and by running on different types of surface.
Initially, a shin splint injury can be treated with RICE (see above). Sports massage can help to drain away lactic acid build-up and relax tight muscles.
Knee injuries are a common occurrence with whatever sport you decide to play. Overuse or a sharp movement can cause a range of knee injuries. The most common sports-related injury is a tear in the lateral ligaments at the sides of the knee joint.
A cross friction massage technique can be performed to re-align the fibres and prevent scar tissue build-up. Frictions are applied in a backwards and forwards motion with the fingers, gradually moving in towards the injured area. This type of massage should be performed by a qualified therapist to avoid further injury.
Remember, warm up, stay hydrated and contact Bristol Chiropractic Clinic for any injury enquiries you may have. Keep updated in the latest news section of our website for a more detailed guide to each specific injury.