If you play spring sports like baseball, track and field, lacrosse, volleyball, or tennis and live in a warmer climate, you’re already practicing spring sports! It’s easy to push yourself too hard in early practices and potentially injure yourself if the muscles you use in your sport haven’t been warmed up or used in a while.
Muscle strains, pulled or torn muscles, are a common spring sports injury. For example, rotator cuff injury is common in baseball and tennis players; hamstring injuries often affect runners and those performing in track and field events. Injuries to bicep, tricep, quadriceps, calf, back, and neck muscles are also common when playing spring sports.
Your board-certified orthopedic surgeon and the team at Coastal Empire Orthopedics diagnose and treat muscle strains and other types of sports injuries daily. Our sports medicine specialists have advanced training in diagnosing and treating sports injuries; you’re in good hands.
Muscle strains are classified into three groups: Grades I (microtrauma with pain and inflammation), Grade II (muscle damage — severe pulling), and Grade III (usually complete muscle tear).
In sports, muscle strains are usually caused by overuse. Too much pressure is exerted on a tired muscle; you may feel it while it’s happening.
Symptoms of a muscle strain
If you have any of the following symptoms, you likely have a muscle strain, but it’s important to visit the doctor right away for proper diagnosis and treatment.
- Pain when the muscle is at rest or in use
- Bruising (from broken blood vessels under the skin)
- Redness of skin
- Impacted range of motion— e.g., can’t raise the arm above head
How to prevent muscle strain
To avoid the pain and inactivity that results from a muscle strain, use these common-sense strategies.
You know the rule: Always take time to warm up before playing sports. It’s easy to ignore, though, when the weather’s beautiful and you want to start your game or practice.
Stretching warms up your muscles so that they’re ready to be used while you play. It increases blood flow to your joints, which loosens them up and prepares them for the action to come. Cardiovascular exercises boost your circulation and heart rate gently and gradually.
By the end of your warmup, you’re practicing skills and getting yourself prepared mentally as well as physically. The warmup should last 20-30 minutes before rigorous play.
If you haven’t been able to play your sport for a few weeks due to inclement weather or other issues, be sure to start back slowly. You may want to play an entire match the first time on the tennis court but take it easy the first few times out so that you don’t overuse your rotator cuff or other muscles.
Pay attention to your body
If you feel an unusual catch or some discomfort as you’re playing, stop and see what’s going on. Gently use the muscle again and see what happens. If the problem continues, discontinue playing and take preventive measures: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Call or book an appointment online with Coastal Empire Orthopedics for all of your orthopedic needs.