Earlier months in the year have come and gone, and the routines of the cold weather months may be changing. Increased daylight hours have allowed for more time outdoors, participating in leisure and work. As the events that consume our free time begin to change, the physical demands on our bodies, specifically our hands, ought to be thought about and considered to prevent injury.
Contrary to what the snow on the ground has told you, spring sports are ramping up at the high school level across the states. And we all know what that means- beginning of season aches and pains. I’ll let you in on a little secret, we athletic trainers see a lot of the same injuries year after year at this time.
In the first few weeks of spring sports, there is a rise in visitors to the Athletic Training Room for overuse injuries. Let’s dig into some of the most common overuse injuries we see in spring and ways to prevent or manage them.
Hip injuries in dancers comprise about 17.2% of all muscular and bony injuries. These injuries are often hard to diagnose because many have overlapping signs and symptoms. Injuries can occur for a variety of reasons. Some injuries are traumatic from a fall, contact, or another impact like a fracture or an avulsion (where a muscle can yank on its bony attachment and pull some bone loose). Additional injuries can come from overuse and result in tendinitis (or other tendinopathies), bursitis, snapping hip, strain, or a labral tear. Some are bony, like Femoral Acetabular Impingement (FAI) or dysplasia. Whatever the cause, a hip injury can be frustrating for a dancer.
Running has become an increasingly popular activity for exercise among people of all ages. In fact, 60 million people within the United States participate in some form of running activity each year. People participate in running activities for numerous reasons including: improving fitness, weight concerns, running a race/competition, staying healthy, and having fun. Running for 5 – 10 minutes per day has shown to decrease the risk of death and cardiovascular disease. Running less than 50 minutes per week has also shown to reduce the risk of death from heart disease when compared to individuals who don’t participate in running at all. While running has many benefits, about 50% of people get injured each year from running. Running injuries can be caused by poor running technique, reduced strength and flexibility, improper footwear, as well as overuse.
The IT band, or Illiotibial band, is connective tissue that runs along the lateral thigh from the hip to the outside of the tibia (shinbone), just below your knee. IT band pain occurs due to inflammation caused by friction between the IT band and thigh bone, often with repeated knee flexion and extension. This inflammation leads to pain on the outside of the knee, especially with repetitive use in running, walking, hiking and cycling.
Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome is more commonly known as “Shin Splints.” This syndrome describes pain on the front and side of the shin bone in the lower leg. Shin splints are common in running and jumping athletes including gymnasts who run and tumble frequently.
You’re out running on your favorite trail, and so far, everything about your run is perfect. But then, you feel an unusual burn in your heel. Or a discomforting pull of your hamstrings just behind your knee. You might even misstep and roll an ankle. Running, like any other sport, has its fair share of injuries associated with it.
Sports that involve high levels of running and jumping can leave athletes at increased risk for certain injuries. Basketball is an example of a sport that can predispose athletes to knee pain. Several studies have shown that the knee is the most common site of injury reported in adolescent basketball players, both male and female.1,2