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Spring sports seasons are kicked into high gear. While getting back on the field is exciting, the increased physical activity also brings an increased risk of injuries. From strains and sprains to more serious injuries, Dr. Travis Sims, MD explains why it’s important to understand these risks, how to treat them and when to seek medical attention.

Common Spring Sports Injuries

A young girl holding a soccer ball receives treatment for sports injuries at the doctor's office, with her mom by her side for support.

Strains and Sprains: Muscle strains and ligament sprains are among the most common sports injuries. They can result from overuse, lack of proper warm-up, or a sudden twist or fall. Ankle and wrist sprains are particularly prevalent in sports requiring running and quick directional changes, like soccer and baseball.

Fractures: Bone fractures can occur from direct impacts or falls. Stress fractures, a less obvious but equally concerning type, develop over time due to repetitive force, often in runners.

Concussions: A concussion is a traumatic brain injury resulting from a blow to the head or a sudden jolt.

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Contact sports like lacrosse and soccer pose higher risks for these types of injuries.

Tendonitis: Repetitive motions in sports like tennis and baseball can lead to tendonitis, an inflammation of the tendons. Common areas affected include the elbow (tennis elbow) and the knee (jumper’s knee).

Treatment Methods

Immediate treatment for most sports injuries starts with the R.I.C.E. method: Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate.

Rest: Take a break from any activity that causes pain. It’s crucial not to rush back into playing as this can lead to further injury.

Ice: Apply ice to the injured area for 20 minutes every two hours.

Compress: Wrap the injured area with a bandage.

Elevate: Keep the injured body part elevated above heart level, especially during the first 48 hours.

For pain relief, over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen, an NSAID, can be effective. However, it’s important to follow dosage instructions and only use them for a short duration unless advised otherwise.

“Physical therapy is often recommended for more severe strains, sprains, or after the initial healing of fractures and tendon injuries,” Dr. Sims said. “A physical therapist can design a rehabilitation program to strengthen the injured area, improve flexibility, and prevent future injuries.”

When to Seek Medical Attention

While many sports injuries can be treated at home, some require professional medical attention. Here are signs that you should visit an emergency room or your healthcare provider:

  • Severe pain that doesn’t improve with R.I.C.E.
  • Visible deformities or suspected fractures (e.g., crooked limb, bone protrusion)
  • Inability to bear weight or use the affected limb
  • Signs of a concussion, such as confusion, vomiting, severe headache, or loss of consciousness
  • Swelling or pain that worsens over time instead of improving
  • Tingling, numbness, or loss of sensation in the injured area

Prompt and appropriate treatment is key to a full recovery. Ignoring symptoms or delaying treatment can lead to chronic issues, prolonged recovery times, and even permanent damage.

“Spring sports are a great way for young athletes to stay active, develop skills, and enjoy competition,” Dr. Sims said. “However, remember, the goal is to keep the game going by keeping players healthy and safe.”

By understanding common injuries, how to treat them, and when to seek professional medical help, athletes and parents can ensure a safer and more enjoyable sports season.

As the season progresses, remember that Ally Medical ER is here for you, day or night. With our doors open 24/7 and 7 convenient locations, we’re always ready to provide the care you need, exactly when you need it. Whether it’s a sprain, a strain, or something more serious, our team is equipped to offer the prompt and appropriate treatment that’s key to a full recovery.

Stay safe and enjoy the sports season to the fullest, knowing that Ally Medical ER is always by your side.

Dr. Sims, a friendly and approachable physician, stands outside Ally Medical ER with his arms crossed, offering a warm and welcoming smile. The background showcases the inviting entrance of the medical facility, highlighting the professional and caring environment that awaits patients inside.

Travis Sims, MD