How to Avoid Strains in Summer Sports

With summer fast approaching, it's time to get back to your favorite sports that motivate you to get out and be active. Whether you're on the field or on the court, summer sports are an excellent way to enjoy the weather and stay active.

Be careful when participating in these sports, however, as many of the motions involved could put you at risk of a strain. To keep you safe and active, Resurgens Orthopaedics would like to help you identify strains, explain some causes and symptoms, and provide a few tips to help prevent a potential strain.

What Are Strains?

A strain is the stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon (the fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bone). Depending on the degree of strain's severity, an injury might be as minor as a slightly overstretched muscle or tendon, or something as serious as a partial or complete tear of these tissues. There are a number of risk factors that could make you susceptible to a strain when playing a sport.

Causes of Strains

Leg muscle strains are frequent problem areas, especially for athletes who must quickly start, run or jump in their sport - such as basketball or soccer. For athletes playing these kinds of sports, the sudden jumping and pivoting involved can put great stress on the hamstring muscles and the calf muscles, causing them to tear or stretch.

Strains in your hand muscles can result from overworking your hands in summer sports that require a firm grip, such as golf, tennis, or gymnastics. The overuse of these muscles as you grip the balance beam or the 7-iron could eventually cause tearing over time.

Also common in the summer are strains to the elbow, especially in throwing sports and racket sports. These elbow strains often occur through repetitive motions of the tendons in the arms.

Symptoms of Strains

If you think you might have injured a muscle or tendon while playing a sport, look for the following symptoms to determine if you've suffered a strain.

Are you experiencing pain or tenderness in the affected area? Generally, there might be some degree of tenderness or pain that accompanies a muscle strain, and it's one of the clearest symptoms that indicates something is wrong. You might also see redness, bruising, or swelling in the affected area.

A strain of a muscle or tendon can also hinder your range of motion and weaken your muscles. In the event that you've suffered a strain, you might feel muscle spasms or struggle to put pressure on the injured area.

Strain Prevention & Treatment

Preventionstarts with stretching and conditioning the parts of your body used in the sports you play. By improving your strength, stability, and flexibility, you can minimize the risk of suffering a strain.

When treating a strain, it's best to talk to your healthcare provider to find the right treatment plan. Generally, R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression and elevation) and anti-inflammatory medications can prove helpful. In other cases, some physical therapy or massage therapy may also be recommended. For more serious muscle or tendon tears, bracing or surgery may be necessary.

Resurgens Is Here to Keep You Healthy and Active

Don't risk getting sidelined over a sports-related injury. Staying active in the summer can only happen when you maintain safe practices and are mindful of your bodily health.

If you think you may have a sports-related injury, schedule an appointment with a Resurgens sports medicine physician to determine potential treatment options, and get back to what you love!