What do you when crippling joint pain hits? The week before the big race. The day before your critically important presentation at work.
It’s so common – right when you most need to feel 100%, injury strikes. Perhaps because of overuse at training. Or stress combined with bad posture as you burnt the candle at both ends.
Luckily, most common joint injuries can be treated. If you’d like to learn more about them and how to treat them, read on!
Common Joint Injuries
Several joint and muscle injuries more well-known than others. Let’s take a look at the 8 most frequent joint injuries and what to do about them.
8 Joint, Muscle and Tendon Injuries
In no particular order, here are 8 frustrating injuries and how to fix them.
1. Runner’s Knee
Runner’s knee isn’t one specific injury. It’s an umbrella term for a range of knee problems, experienced by more than just runners. It generally comes about due to a range of things such as overuse or direct impact.
Runner’s knee can happen because of misaligned bones or foot problems that cause stress at the knee. You’ll notice pain at the kneecap, or behind it. When you go downstairs, sit, kneel or run it’ll be sure to grab your attention.
If you’re feeling pain as we’ve described, hearing a grinding sound, or popping, it’s a good time to get medical attention. A doctor can check your range of motion and take an x-ray. Rest the knee, ice it, and if possible elevate it by propping it up on a pillow or something similar.
2. Sprained Ankle
A sprain is when a ligament gets weaker as a result of a sudden force or exertion. If you’ve had a moment of overstrain or wrenching, you may have sprained your ankle. Cold compression is the result way to get some relief.
As the pain lessens, add in gentle exercise and stretching. If it hurts, you’re going to hard and need to back off the pressure a little.
3. Rotator Cuff Injury
More commonly known as a shoulder strain, a rotator cuff injury is painful and can limit your activity. The shoulder is one of the body’s weakest joints, and yet it has a big role in sports. Injuries can occur due to a lack of flexibility, forceful movements before being warmed up, and a lack of strength.
Begin the treatment with rest and ice to reduce swelling. If you’re still in pain with limited movement after two weeks, see a specialist.
4. Plica Syndrome
Plica syndrome affects the knee. A plica is a little fold in the tissue lining your knee joint. People generally have four of them.
During overuse of the knee, one of these four folds is irritated. The overuse might be due to a sudden increase in exercise or force, or from regular cycling or running over a long period of time. When this happens your knee may feel unstable.
This injury is best resting for a couple of days and then getting to a doctor for x-rays and professional medical advice.
5. Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is that irritating pain around the outside of the elbow. Like so many joint injuries, it happens due to excessive force or overuse. The best treatment is to ice it until pain and swelling lessen.
You might consider strapping it to restrict movement and stress while it recovers. You could also talk to your sports doctor about whether non-steroid anti-inflammatories might help.
6. Shin Splints
Shin splints announce themselves with pain along the inner edge of the shin. Overuse is the best way to get one, thanks to regular trauma at the connective tissue around the tibia. It’s a common injury in runners.
Ice, elevate and rest until the swelling goes down. After a few days, you should be able to add some gentle exercise or stretching to the slow recovery. If you’re still experiencing severe pain after day three, get a medical examination to be on the safe side.
Tendonitis is the irritation of the thick cord (tendon) connecting bone to muscle. It can happen from a minor but repetitive impact or from sudden or forceful impact. You might experience it after activities like gardening, golf, tennis or painting.
To avoid it, take breaks and stretch during repetitive movements. Focus on having the correct posture during the activity. If the damage is already done, you’ll need to rest it and ice it,
It’s not a bad idea to wear a sling so you can immobilize it to speed its recovery.
8. Groin Strain
Also known as a groin pull, this strain occurs in the groin muscle. It runs from the inner thigh above the knee to the upper inner thigh. These injuries often come about after activities involving shifting quickly from one side to another.
You’ll notice difficulty with lateral movements. Rest and apply ice every 20 minutes for the first 3 days. After these initial rest days, start to incorporate slow, gently stretching.
How to Treat a Joint, Muscle or Tendon Injury
You’ve probably noticed a trend in the treatments of the 8 most common injuries to joints muscles and tendons: rest, ice, elevate. For the first few days minimize movement, take water, and anti-inflammatories if your doctor and/or coach approve. You can find supplements to aid recovery at this website and others like it.
On day three you add stretching, gentle yoga and general healthy living. If the pain remains much past day three, seek medical attention. Some medical examinations and potentially x-rays will be better able to clear up what’s happening.
If you try to be brave and ignore the message your body is sending you when you feel pain, you could make a small overuse issue a sports season-killer.
Time to Get Back on Track!
There you have it; the 8 most common joint injuries and what to do about them. So if you’re feeling out of form and in pain the day before a big career or sporting event, you can get back on track.