I wrote a similar article for an ad agency working with a sports medicine clinic. I've adapted it as if I were writing on a similar topic for a different client.
Sports Injuries: Strains and Sprains
As an athlete, I'm sure you appreciate the amazing resilience of the human body. The way a workout breaks down body tissue so that it builds up again, making you stronger.
When you push your body beyond its limits, you gain the ability to run faster, jump higher, swim further, and perform better. But you can push it too far.
Overworking soft tissue can result in an injury. It can happen anywhere while doing almost anything:
- Manual labor
- Playing sports
- Working out
- Doing household chores
- Working on a farm
Sprains and Strains: Common Sports Injuries
A strain is an overstretched muscle or tendon.
A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon. When you overwork or overextend a muscle group, it tears the soft tissue.
The hamstrings and the back are the most common areas to suffer strains.
There are several ways you might strain a muscle or tendon:
- Lifting or carrying heavy objects.
- Improper lifting and carrying, even if the object isn’t very heavy. -
- Sudden movements when muscles and tendons are too tight.
- Overstretching a muscle group.
- Overuse of muscle groups - tennis elbow is an example.
- Muscle weakness.
- Muscle spasms.
- Limited muscle movement.
Strains and sprains not only keep you out of your favorite sport, but can also affect your job. You might lose wages because you're not able to do your job.
But it’s a good thing that just a little preventative care can help you avoid debilitating injuries.
1. Use the proper lift and carry techniques.
-When lifting, don’t bend at the waist. Stand where the object you’re picking up is directly in front of you.
- Lower your body to a squatting position with your back straight.
- Use your legs to lift your body and the object.
-Know your limits! If you try to lift or carry more than you're able, the techniques won't do any good. Get help with the heavy stuff.
- If you need to turn to place the object on a shelf or table, don’t twist your torso at the waist. Instead, turn your whole body to face in the direction you need.
- Always do a warm-up before strenuous activities like exercise, playing sports, or doing manual labor.
2. Dress warm in cold weather. Muscles tend to tighten in response to the cold. That makes them vulnerable to strain.
3. Maintain a healthy weight.
The best way to treat a strain is to let the muscle group rest
Remember the acronym R.I.C.E.:
- Rest the injured area
- Ice the region to reduce swelling.
- Compress the strained muscle group with an Ace bandage.
- Elevate the injured limb.
Take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen (Tylenol).
If the pain and swelling don’t improve or if they get worse over 48 hours, you’ll need to see a doctor.
A sprain can be caused by twisting a joint, or having a joint forced out of the socket. This stretches or tears the ligaments that keep the bones together.
The most common sprains are of the ankle and wrist.
- Limited limited movement.
- Wear proper-fitting shoes. If you work around oil and grease, put on footwear with oil-resistant soles.
-If you have to walk on ice and snow, wear ice cleats.
-Be sure of your footing, especially if you’re walking or running on uneven or rocky ground.
- See the section on strain prevention for more.
A sprain is an injury to a ligament.
Treat a sprain the same as you would a strain. Remember the acronym R.I.C.E.
Take an NSAID according to directions.
See a doctor if you have severe symptoms:
- Numbness in the injured area.
-Redness near the injury.
Most minor sprains and strains heal in a few days.