Weekend warriors usually spend the work week sitting at their desk. When they have free time during the weekend and can get moving, they often enjoy popular activities like running, tennis, golf, soccer, and basketball.
While Dr. Jonathan Shults encourages everyone to get plenty of exercise, a lot of weekend warriors who come to Coastal Empire Orthopedics have injuries that they could have prevented. Below are the 10 most common weekend warrior injuries, along with tips on how to lower your risk of getting injured.
1. Sprained ankles
Sprained ankles happen when a ligament gets pulled too far. If you sprain your ankle, you feel pain in the area, especially when you put weight on the affected foot. You may also notice swelling, stiffness, and bruising.
Before you play any sport, make sure you have a pair of athletic shoes that provide plenty of support. Balancing exercises, such as standing on one foot, can help prevent sprained ankles by making your supportive muscles stronger.
2. Shin splints
Shin splints usually happen to distance runners. As your feet strike the ground repeatedly, the shins absorb a lot of shock that can damage your muscles, ligaments, and bone. The most common symptoms are pain and swollen shins.
Strengthening exercises for your feet, ankles, calves, and hips can help you avoid shin splints. By strengthening your core muscles, you create a more stable base that can stay strong and support your body during long runs.
3. IT band syndrome
IT band syndrome also occurs most often in runners who cover long distances. The condition occurs when your IT band, a strong ligament that runs down your outer thigh, rubs on your thigh bone repeatedly. The syndrome usually causes pain in the knee, hip, or both places.
IT band syndrome can require months of recovery. If you run, make sure you build core and hip strength to avoid the problem. Otherwise, you could find yourself missing the races you’ve trained for.
4. Pulled groin
Groin pulls typically happen to people who play intense sports with a lot of lateral movement, such as soccer and basketball. It happens when muscles in the inner thigh are stretched too far. When stretched far enough, they can become seriously injured.
You can avoid groin pulls by warming up before playing sports and making sure you don’t push yourself too hard while playing. Strengthen muscles in your hips, thighs, and gluteals to help with pelvic stability.
5. Tennis elbow
Tennis elbow occurs when repeated arm movements cause strain in your forearm ligaments. It can happen to people who play sports other than tennis, but it’s most common among tennis players, which is how it earned its name.
To prevent tennis elbow, always stretch your forearms and wrists before and after playing sports. If you start to feel any arm pain while you’re playing, stop. Also, make sure that your equipment fits you and that you’re using proper technique.
6. Shoulder Injuries
Shoulder injuries include muscle strains, dislocations, rotator cuff tears, and ligament strains. They commonly happen to people playing sports like golf, tennis, and baseball, where you perform intensive, repetitive motion.
You can reduce your risk of shoulder injuries by warming up and stretching before playing sports. If you do hurt your shoulder, ice it and take time off from sports while it heals. If it doesn’t get better within a week or two, you may need help from a physical therapist.
7. Hamstring Strains
Hamstring strains happen when muscles at the back of your thigh get injured. The injury can happen to people playing practically any sport.
Stretching before and after exercise is the best way to avoid hamstring strains.
Concussions can cause headaches, sensitivity to light, vomiting, confusion, and slurred speech. Repeated concussions increase your risk of a traumatic brain injury.
Always wear a fitted helmet when playing contact sports that could lead to head injuries.
9. ACL Tears
If you strain or tear a ligament in your knee, you may have an ACL tear that causes pain, swelling, and poor range of motion. ACL tears may require surgical treatment, so take them seriously.
To prevent ACL tears, always warm up before exercising. If you notice any knee pain while playing sports, stop immediately and rest.
10. Hip Flexor Strains
Hip flexor strains can make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. The flexor usually gets strained while running on inclines or making sudden turns.
Improve your core and hip strength to stabilize your body while running. The more stable you are, the less likely you are to strain your hip flexor.
If you’ve experienced one of these common injuries, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shults at Coastal Empire Orthopedics to receive a proper diagnosis and learn about your options for a treatment plan to get you back in the game.