Most of our active and athletic patients come in with sports injuries, and they have no idea how it happened and why it is now occurring. It can be a very frustrating experience for the patient dealing with these sports injuries.
Often these sports injuries prevent you from exercising, partaking in your activity of choice, and competing. This can last for weeks and months if you are not adequately diagnosed and treated for your sports injury.
Unfortunately, many who suffer from sports injuries will go to their primary care physician or orthopedist. If there is no structural damage, they will be told to rest for 6-8 weeks but not offered any solution and prevention for the sports injury.
Patients do not want surgery or long periods of rest if they do not need that. There typically are alternatives that are conservative and can yield lasting results.
Before we dive into how we assess, treat, and prevent sports injuries, here is how medicinenet.com defines a sports injury.
What classifies a sports injury?
Sports injuries refer to the kinds of injuries that occur during sports or exercise.
While it is possible to injure any part of the body when playing sports, the term sports injuries are commonly used to refer to injuries of the musculoskeletal system.
Some of the most common sports injuries include:
- Sprains—tears to the ligaments that join the ends of bones together. The ankles, knees, and wrists are commonly affected by sprains.
- Strains—pulls or tears of muscles or tendons (the tissues that attach the muscles to the bones)
- "Shin splints"—pain along the outside front of the lower leg, commonly seen in runners
- Achilles tendonitis or rupture of the Achilles tendon—These injuries involve the large band of tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel
- Fractures of the bones
- Dislocation of joints
Traumatic sports injuries
As you can see in the above list, some sports injuries, such as fractures, dislocations, and severe sprains would fall under traumatic sports injuries.
When something severe like that happens, a visit to the hospital or orthopedist is highly recommended. You want to take those seriously and get the necessary medical attention.
However, many sports injuries such as sprains, strains, shin splints, and tendonitis/tendinopathies are either mild/moderate or of over-use nature.
The Cumulative Injury Cycle represents the process in which over-use injuries and pain occur.
The process begins with Overwork, such as running, golf, tennis, and other sports/activities, especially if your technique isn’t sound. Sports and activities combined with a sedentary lifestyle or other repetitive activities lead to Weak & Tight Muscles.
These weak and tight muscles lead to excessive Friction, Pressure, and Tension to the local muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fascia. In turn, this results in Decreased Circulation and Swelling and Hypoxia (lack of oxygen) to the area.
Due to this hypoxic state, the formation of adhesions and scar tissue occurs in the area, which decreases the function of the local structures. This becomes a vicious cycle that, over time, results in pain and injury.
Many sports injuries are cumulative
Many sports injuries are cumulative, which means it occurs over time, not due to one single traumatic event.
The Keys to preventing this vicious cycle from becoming an injury:
- Reduce the “Overwork” with proper equipment (running shoes, etc.), proper technique, optimal rest, and a gradual increase in activity (avoid too much, too soon).
- Corrective Exercises (strengthening and mobility work) to prevent muscular imbalances
- Bodywork such as foam rolling, Chiropractic, Massage, Active Release Technique, Physical Therapy, etc. to prevent adhesions, lack of oxygen to the cells, etc.
Some of the common sports injuries we evaluate and treat successfully in our office are:
- Running Injuries
- Runner’s Knee
- IT Band Syndrome
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Muscle Strains
- Hip Pain
- Piriformis Syndrome
- Foot Pain
- Fitness/Weightlifting Injuries
- Disc Herniation
- Shoulder Injuries
- Back Pain
- Knee Pain
- Golf Injuries
- Golfer’s Elbow
- Back Pain
- Shoulder Injuries
- Tennis Injuries
- Tennis Elbow
- Shoulder Injuries
- Wrist Injuries
- Football/Soccer/Baseball Injuries
- Swimming Injuries
- Many More
How we treat sports injuries
In our Boca Raton Sports Chiropractic practice, we take a detailed history of your injury, followed by a functional movement assessment and examination. Our goal is to not only provide you with a diagnosis of your injury but determine the underlying root cause of your injury. Many sports injuries have a reason that is away from the site of pain.
For instance, a lot of knee pain from sports can be caused by a faulty foot/ankle or hip. There are many examples of these compensation patterns that place undue stress on specific aspects of the body.
Once we have determined your diagnoses and root case, we develop a treatment plan that consists of sports rehabilitation exercises, Active Release Techniques (Muscle Work), chiropractic, Graston Technique®, and deep tissue laser therapy.
Too often, you go for an evaluation of your sports injury, and you only get a brief exam. You have been prescribed pain medications, rest, or a script for physical therapy somewhere else. In our office, you are examined and treated on the first day. Our treatment will consist of muscle work, sports rehab exercises, chiropractic manipulation (if indicated), and other sports therapeutic modalities.
Our three-phase approach to sports injuries
There are three phases to our sports injury care to help you fully return to your pre-injury health.
Phase 1: Pain Reduction
Phase 2: Return to Activities of Daily Living
Phase 3: Return to Sport Performance
Early on, we expect your pain to resolve, which allows us to take your rehab to a more advanced level. At this phase, you should be able to perform all activities of daily living without pain and much of your sport/activity at a moderate level.
Our next goal is to get you performing at the highest of your capabilities and pre-injury state. This can take a combination of treatment and sports training to get to this next level.
As an athlete and/or an active person, one of the best qualities we can help you achieve is to become injury resistant. Often you hear the word injury prevention, but the reality is, absolute prevention is not possible. But we can help you become injury resistant with the right type of treatment, corrective exercises, and advice.
Improving your injury resistance does three things
- Decrease chance of getting injured
- Decrease the severity of the injury
- Increase recovery time from the injury
We focus heavily on injury resistance measures with our patients to help them get better and stay better. If you are dealing with any sports injuries or over-use strain, we encourage you to call our office and schedule a new patient exam. Our doctors will provide you with the best conservative treatment options for your condition and goals.
"I had one of my healthiest seasons!
I have utilized Health-Fit Sports Chiropractic & Sports Recovery for the last year to help improve my recovery and performance for my intense triathlon training season."
Kristy Breslaw - President of Boca Raton Triathletes
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Why should I see a chiropractor for my sports injury?
Chiropractors are trained to treat sports injuries, from strains/sprains to repetitive use injuries. Injuries in sports are often the nature of the beast, especially in contact sports. To continue doing what you love, a chiropractor can help you prevent injuries before they occur or return to your sport pain-free.
Although chiropractors work on both spinal and extremity complaints, they are often considered experts in back pain. 75% of elite athletes and 40%-60% of the general population experience lower back pain at some point in their lifetime. The most common back injuries are strains followed by disc injuries, both of which a chiropractor manages.
When should I see a chiropractor for my sports injury?
There are a couple of times when you should see a chiropractor. First, a chiropractor can be the first line of defense in conservative management of your injury. The chiropractor goes through a screening process to see if they are the best fit for you and your road to recovery or if you need to be referred to a specialist.
The next option is to see a chiropractor before you get hurt. For example, young female athletes are more prone to ACL injuries due to muscular imbalance and hyper-mobility. After an assessment, a chiropractor can establish what an athlete needs to be more resilient in their sport.
What is a Sports Chiropractor?
A sports chiropractor is specialized in the prevention and rehabilitation of sports-related injuries. They can either be in private practice and/or contracted for a sports team, but they are trained to treat all sorts of athletes from youth athletes to professional athletes to weekend warriors.
Numerous studies support that chiropractic can help athletes achieve optimal performance through adjustments, soft tissue work, and rehabilitation. Sports chiropractors can either have board certifications such as CCSP or DACBSP or have taken continuing education courses to prepare themselves for athletic injures and performance.
If you are dealing with a sports injury, do not let it linger on without resolution. If you want a same-day examination and treatment for your sports injury, call our Boca Raton or Miami chiropractic and sports injury office at 561-997-8898 or schedule online.