Weekend Warrior Injuries
With a little insight into what common injuries appear, weekend athletes can work to avoid them through regular exercise. These injuries are most likely to appear in the unconditioned athlete, the average person playing basketball or racquetball or running or dancing. For example, hitting the court without first conditioning your body will often result in injury because of a lack of strength and flexibility. Through regular conditioning and the use of proper equipment, you can avoid most of these injuries forever.
- SHOULDER STRAINS are tears in muscle fibers or tendons that connect the muscles to the shoulder bones, usually due to overstretching a muscle. While being the body's strongest and most flexible joint, it also the least stable. You can increase shoulder strength by performing shoulder shrugs and exercises that use your shoulders to perform pulling and pushing motions.
- TENNIS ELBOW is pain in the forearm and outside of the elbow caused by partial tears in the muscle and tendon connecting the forearm muscle to the elbow bone. You can strengthen your wrist by holding some weight and moving the hand up and down 20 times, three times a day.
- PULLED HAMSTRINGS involve tears in muscle fibers or tendons of the hamstring muscles along the back of the thigh. To stretch your hamstrings, rest on your back, bring your thigh to a vertical position and slowly extend the knee. Hold for at least ten seconds.
- QUADRICEP STRAINS involve pain and tightness in the muscles along the front of the thigh. There can be an occasional loss of motion if the injury is severe, but can be avoided with proper stretching. While standing, bend the knee and grasp the ankle. Pull the ankle behind you until you feel a stretch, but not so far as to cause pain.
- RUNNER'S KNEE is an aching pain behind or around the kneecap. It is often a sign of inflammation of the patellar tendon caused by weak quadriceps muscles along the front of the thigh and improper tracker of the kneecap in its groove. Reduce the likelihood of developing patella tendonitis by performing quad stretches. Bend the knee and pull the foot behind you until you feel a stretch in the front of the thigh.
- SHIN SPLINTS are caused by inflammation or tiny tears in the muscles along the front of the lower leg. The repeated stresses of jogging and aerobic dance are often the cause of tenderness, and will often subside with reduced levels of activity. Wearing good footwear is the first step in shin splint prevention, followed by proper stretching of the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia and strengthening of the muscles of the foot. To stretch the calf, stand facing a wall and place hands on wall at shoulder level. Lean forward, keeping heels on the floor until you fell a stretch in your calves.
- ILIOTIBIAL BAND PAIN is a burning sensation in the area just below the outside of the knee due to inflammation of the iliotibial band,k which helps support and stabilize the knee. Runners often suffer this stress injury and can prevent it by performing a crisscross exercise. While standing, cross your uninjured leg in front of the injured leg. Then lean towards the uninjured side, holding for ten seconds.
- SPRAINED ANKLES are pulled or torn ligaments often caused by landing hard and twisting the foot. By performing exercises, with and without resistance, ankles will be strengthened and stretched, reducing the chance for injury.
- ACHILLES TENDONITIS is inflammation of the Achilles tendon just above the heel; often a result of weak calf muscles and explosive jumping. Proper stretching before and after activities, along with properly fitted padded heels in the shoe, usually prevent this injury.