When you suffer from an injury as an athlete, you want to get back to competing as soon as possible. Our sports chiropractic clinic in Jacksonville can help you do just that. Whether you are a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, Integrative Healthcare Solutions has many different treatment methods and techniques to help you recover and get back to what you love.
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 is commonly used to refer to injuries of the musculoskeletal system. Sports and exercise are great ways to keep healthy, but there are often risks involved. Most often, excessive training, inappropriate training methods, or perilous exercise equipment can be the cause of an injury. Structural abnormalities and muscle imbalances/weakness can also be culprits leading to injury, including the ankles, knees, elbows, shoulder or spine.
Types of Sports Injuries
There are two kinds of sports injuries: acute and chronic. Acute injuries occur suddenly when playing or exercising. Sprained ankles, strained backs, and fractured hands are acute injuries. Signs of an acute injury include:
- Sudden or severe pain
- Not being able to place weight on a leg, knee, ankle, or foot
- An arm, elbow, wrist, hand, or finger that is very tender
- Not being able to move a joint as normal
- Extreme leg or arm weakness
- A bone or joint that is visibly out of place
Chronic injuries happen after you play a sport or exercise for a long time. Signs of a chronic injury include:
- Pain when you play
- Pain when you exercise
- A dull ache when you rest
Common Sports Injuries We Treat in Jacksonville, FL
We understand the mechanics of injuries and therefore know what specific treatments will help you heal the quickest. Some very common sports injuries we see on a daily basis include:
- Muscle Strain
- Low Back Strain
- Runner's Knee
- Tennis Elbow & Golfer's Elbow
- Rotator Cuff Injuries
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Ligament Sprains
- Overuse Injuries
- Pinched Nerves
How Do Sports Injuries Occur?
Sports injuries are normally caused by a traumatic force to a joint in motion causing hyperextension or hyperflexion. One such injury is a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) which results from a quick deceleration, hyperextension or rotation of the knee joint that may or may not involve contact with another person. Such injury, and others, may cause significant pain and debilitation taking you away from the sports that you enjoy.
To reduce the risk of injury:
- Take time off when needed, don’t “over-do-it”
- Wear the right gear, athletes should always wear appropriate and properly fit protective equipment.
- Strengthen muscles, conditioning exercises during practice strengthens muscles used in play.
- Increase flexibility, stretching exercises after games or practice can increase flexibility. Stretching should also be incorporated into a daily fitness plan.
- Use the proper technique.
- Take breaks, rest periods during practice and exercising can reduce injuries and prevent heat illness.
- Play Safe. Stop the activity if there is pain.
Tendonitis is an injury or irritation of the fibrous, thick tendons that connect muscles to bones. During the first stage of tendonitis, patients experience a dull ache after an activity that involves using the tendon; the ache normally decreases with rest. In the second stage, patients may experience pain during minor movements of the affected area. During the final stage, patients are typically in constant pain!
The first goal of a chiropractor in treating tendonitis is to make an accurate diagnosis of the problem, ruling out any other possible underlying causes of the pain. This is necessary because the joint pain and stiffness of tendonitis are similar to the experience of bursitis or arthritis. After a diagnosis, our chiropractor will select a natural treatment plan that addresses the cause of the tendonitis, rather than just simply treating the symptoms.
Initially, the chiropractor may support and protect the injured tendons by bracing the portions of the tendon that were pulled; the tendon needs to be loosened and the inflammation needs to be reduced. Treatments that follow might include ultrasound, ice, rest, temporary immobilization, electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), manual trigger point therapy, strengthening exercises, physical therapy, and/or massage. Joint manipulation may also be performed on individuals with diminished joint mobility.
With proper treatment, the pain and inflammation in the tendon should decrease during the first three weeks. However, a fully healed tendon will not be achieved until at least six weeks have passed. During these six weeks, scar tissue is formed, which initially helps bond the tissue back together. The scar tissue then needs to be broken down so the tendon and muscle regain flexibility; this lessens the chance of further injury.
At first, a chiropractor may treat scar tissue with ultrasound and massage. Ultrasound may also be used to assist with moving topical nutrient and pain solutions deeper into the tissues. Mild stretches that don’t irritate the tendons can be incorporated as well. Once the tissues have healed, exercise can help further break down the built up scar tissue. During this period, longer stretches should target only the muscles, not the affected tendons that were previously injured.
A muscle strain is also known as a pulled muscle. It occurs when a muscle is suddenly pulled or twisted. When this happens, a tiny tear occurs in the muscle. Pulled muscles happen more easily when muscles are not stretched or warmed up before working out, playing a game, or performing any type of strenuous activity. Sometimes they happen when the muscle is overused. Strains happen most often in the legs, arms, and back.
Some of the symptoms to look out for are your muscles hurting, accompanied by the muscle becoming swollen. Also, you may not be able to move the area of your body where the muscle has been injured because of the pain and swelling.
The typical healing time usually takes about 1 to 2 weeks but may take up to 6 weeks for bad strains. While it is healing, you may be advised to wear a splint or ace wrap to protect the injury.
Gentle manual manipulation is an option to help loosen tight back muscles and promote healing in the lower back. EMS is also a viable option with chiropractic care, followed by ice or cold packs. Application of some type of cold pack can help reduce inflammation, which is helpful immediately following the injury.
Low Back Strain
There are two common types of lower back strain:
A muscle strain happens when the muscle is over-stretched or torn, resulting in damage to the muscle fibers (also known as a pulled muscle).
A lumbar sprain happens when ligaments are stretched too far or torn. Ligaments are very tough, fibrous connecting tissues that connect bones together.
The treatment plan may involve one or more manual adjustments in which the doctor manipulates the joints, using a controlled, sudden force to improve range and quality of motion. Our chiropractor may also incorporate nutritional counseling and exercise/rehabilitation into the treatment plan. The goals of chiropractic care include the restoration of function and prevention of injury in addition to back pain relief.
Anyone who spends time doing things that make you bend your knees a lot such as brisk and continuous walking, biking, and jumping, can get runner’s knee. Runner’s knee also called patellofemoral pain syndrome is an aching pain around the kneecap.
Although thought to be a particular injury, runner's knee isn't a specific injury. It's a broad term that describes the pain you feel if you have one of several knee problems. For example, chondromalacia patella, a condition in which the cartilage under the kneecap breaks down; this can lead to symptoms of a runner’s knee.
Runner’s Knee can happen for several reasons:
- Overuse- if you do a lot of repeated bending or high-stress exercises, such as lunges or plyometrics, these types of exercise can irritate your knee joint.
- A direct hit to the knee, i.e. from a fall or blow.
- If your bones aren’t lined up. If any of the bones from your hips to your ankles are out of their correct position, (including the kneecap itself) it can put too much pressure on certain spots in the joint.
- Problems with your feet, such as hypermobile feet (when the joints in and around the feet move around more freely than they should), fallen arches (flat feet), or over pronation. These types of foot displacement may change the way you walk, which in turn can cause knee pain.
- Weak or unbalanced thigh muscles- the quadriceps in the front of your thigh keep your kneecap in place when you bend or stretch the joint. If they are weak or tight, your kneecap may not stay in the right spot.
Chiropractic Care for Sports Injuries
Although prevention is key, sports injuries are likely to happen. Chiropractors are trained to assess, diagnose, and manage sports-related injuries. In fact, through a comprehensive history and physical examination, chiropractors can help determine the cause of pain and dysfunction as well as recommend an appropriate plan of management. Conservative care offered by chiropractors, dependent on the injury and mechanism, may include joint manipulation and mobilization, soft tissue therapies, rehabilitation, and individualized exercises and lifestyle advice to restore proper function, enhance healing of damaged tissue and reduce pain. Chiropractors can also help, in partnership, determine the best strategy to return to play.
Chiropractic care offers a balanced approach to the treatment and healing of sports injuries. By using the chiropractic adjustment to return spinal segments to their normal mobility and physical therapy to help the supportive tissues, chiropractic physicians help the injured areas return to normal function. Combined with some rest to help the healing process, athletes will find their way back on the court. Many professional athletes are utilizing chiropractic care more and more because they realize that it helps them maximize athletic performance.
Our process is to perform a thorough evaluation which includes a consultation, orthopedic testing, neurologic testing, digital x-rays, muscle movement and range of motion testing. The next step is to create a treatment plan that works for you and your busy schedule. We have convenient office hours which make it easy for you to get in for care before, during or after work. Please call our office for more information on how we can help.