The most common injuries among athletes are overuse injuries. These injuries result from repetitive movement of a muscle or joint. Without proper stretching or rest, the muscle can become torn or inflamed.
Common overuse injuries: tennis elbow
Caused by the repetitive motions of the wrist and elbow, tennis elbow is often self-diagnosable because of the sharp pain that occurs on the outside of the athlete’s elbow. Other symptoms of tennis elbow include:
- Elbow stiffness, especially in the morning
- Gradually increasing elbow pain
- Elbow pain increases when squeezing an object
Despite the name of the injury, tennis elbow can happen to athletes in any sport. It’s important that you consult with a sports medicine doctor or physical therapist if you’re experiencing elbow pain you think may be related to your sport.
A physical therapist is trained to help you recover from injuries, illnesses, and surgeries. Therefore, visiting a physical therapy clinic in addition to a sports medicine clinic may be in your best interest.
Preventing tennis elbow
As with all sports, it’s important to know how to prevent injuries before you sustain them. Overuse injuries are most often caused by incorrect technique or poor stretching. The following are some of the best ways you can help to prevent overuse injuries like tennis elbow:
- Talk to your coach and ask for a rundown on the correct movements and techniques for your sport. Your coach is there to help you learn and to help you stay safe on the court or field. They’ll be happy to help.
- Stretching before and after training or a game. This will help to smooth the blood flow in your muscles and to warm them up.
- Using cold compression after training or a game. A cold compress helps to reduce inflammation of the muscles and tendons.
- Use the right equipment for your body and ability. It may be tempting to want to use certain equipment you’re not quite ready for in order to increase your body strength and ability, but if the equipment isn’t appropriate for your body size it can result in muscular tears or injury.
Overuse injuries can be incredibly painful and may result in the need to sit out from your sport while you recover. However, recovery is necessary in order for you to receive proper care.