About Sports Injuries: Symptoms and Complications

Here are some of the most common sports injuries:

Shin splints - with anteriolateral shin splints, pain around the front of the shin starts immediately when your heel strikes the ground awkwardly. In posteromedial shin splints, the pain is located on the inner part of the shins, and is worse when you stand on your toes. If you keep running, the pain tends to spread toward the knee.

Achilles tendinitis - The Achilles tendon in the heel is most likely to be damaged by running up- or downhill. It's tender when squeezed between the fingers. Pain is usually at its worst in the morning and improves with walking. Vigorous exercise will increase the pain for a bit, then improve it. However, you should never exercise a damaged Achilles tendon until it's healed.

Lumbar strain - The standard weightlifter's injury can also occur in sports that involve sudden twisting of the back like golf and baseball. Sudden lower back pain appears with twisting or lifting. It may seem fairly minor for an hour or two, but carrying on the exercise will usually bring a sudden deterioration with extreme pain and back spasms.

Lateral and medial epicondylitis - More commonly known as back- and forehand tennis elbow. Backhand tennis elbow can also occur with overuse of a screwdriver, but tennis may be more problematic because not only are you gripping hard, there are also repetitive shocks being transmitted to the flexed wrist tendons. Forehand tennis elbow is also common in golfers, baseball players, and people who have to lug heavy suitcases around. The symptom is pain when you flex the wrist backward (lateral tendons) or forward (medial tendons).

Metatarsal stress fracture - The second to fourth toes are vulnerable to breakage if you push off with your toes when sprinting. The front of the foot starts hurting during exercise, and the pain usually stops when you finish. With each subsequent bout of exercise, the pain appears earlier and earlier, and gets steadily worse. The fracture can take up to three months to fully heal.

Any injured tendon can undergo permanent changes if you continue to exercise it without letting it heal. The normal tendon material can be replaced with useless fibrous material in a process called mucoid degeneration. The ligament attaching it to the bone can tear, there may be steady bleeding, and the bone can even change shape where it meets the tendon, forming a spur that may cause pain on movement. In the worst-case scenario, pain can become constant whether you're moving or not, and the affected parts become permanently weak.

It's vital to follow doctor's advice about rest. If you cannot see a doctor, don't exercise the affected area until you're sure it's healing.

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