Football players are stepping back on the field for pre-season training, which means it’s an excellent opportunity to consider training safety and injury treatment. Even seemingly minor injuries can turn into more significant issues when left untreated, often resulting in time out of the game.
Whether you want to prevent football injuries or you currently have an injury that needs to be treated, a sports medicine doctor is a great resource.
Here are a few things you need to know about managing injuries in this high-contact sport so you can keep yourself on the playing field as much as possible.
Common Types of Football Injuries
There’s no question that football is a high-impact sport. Unfortunately, the combination of the impact and repetitive motions can result in players being sidelined due to injuries.
If you are a football player or you have a child who plays football, it’s essential to watch for signs of common injuries. This proactive approach allows you to see a sports injury specialist at the right time, helping to minimize long-lasting damage.
As with other types of sports, minor injuries might include a sprained ankle, sore wrist, or even dislocated shoulder. These are the most common football injuries we see in our sports medicine clinic:
- Knee injuries
- Ankle sprains
- Hip pain
- Strains in the quads, hamstrings, and/or groin
- Hand and wrist injuries
- Back pain
- Shoulder dislocation
It’s important to remember that pain is a signal from the body that something is wrong. If you are feeling pain, you need to talk to a sports medicine doctor immediately to minimize the risk of complications or further injury.
Categorizing Football Injuries
When you talk to a sports medicine doctor for diagnosis and treatment, it’s common for football injuries to be broken down into different categories. This categorization helps to guide the doctor in selecting the ideal type of treatment plan.
These are the most common types of injuries that affect football players (and other athletes):
- Traumatic Injuries: The impact of the game can result in a traumatic injury, such as ankle sprains, tears in the knee ligaments, shoulder injuries, and more. Usually, a traumatic injury is acute, meaning it happens suddenly, and the intense pain starts immediately.
- Overuse Injuries: You don’t need to have one specific moment of injury to know that it’s time to see a sports medicine doctor. Overuse injuries can be chronic, often happening when a football player is overtraining. Pain and mobility issues can develop over time, especially when the player pushes through the pain and continues training.
- Overheating: When training is happening at the summer’s end, the temperatures are hot and can result in heat injuries. Intense physical activity in these hot conditions can cause excessive sweating, leading to heatstroke and other concerns. It’s essential to cool the body and hydrate to minimize the risk of more serious issues.
- Concussions: Football players have a high risk of concussion because of traumatic injuries to the head. You’ll know if a concussion occurs when these symptoms are present: dizziness, headache, drowsiness, loss of balance, tingling, numbness, blurry vision, nausea, and more.
Football Injury Prevention Tips
Ideally, football players should be proactive about preventing injuries before they occur. Wearing proper, well-fitting equipment is the first step. Also, make sure to invest in a good pair of shoes.
Additionally, a thorough training and conditioning program is essential. This training should start before the season begins, so you are ready to show up as your best self when it’s time to step into the game.
Conditioning and training for football can include endurance drills, strength exercises, aerobic activities, stretching and flexibility, and more. Make sure your body is prepared so you aren’t doing anything beyond what you can handle. Staying in shape is an essential part of injury prevention.
Hydration and a healthy diet can also play a role in preparing you to be the best player possible – while also minimizing the risk of injury. When you are feeling well and your mind is sharp, it’s easier to avoid common mistakes that can cause football injuries.
Also, it’s wise to plan a preseason health and wellness evaluation with a sports medicine doctor. This appointment is a great way to assess the body’s current condition. Then, the specialist can offer personalized recommendations to help with optimal performance and minimize injuries in the coming season.
What to Do When a Football Injury Occurs
Suppose you have an injury while on the playing field. Talking to a sports medicine doctor as soon as possible is essential. Immediate treatment helps to speed up recovery and reduce more serious injuries.
Even minor injuries need attention. Your doctor will recommend at-home treatments and help you determine whether medical interventions are necessary. The RICE method can be a great solution to support rehabilitation:
- Rest: Take it easy. Give yourself time to rest and recover. Even though it’s hard to step away from your training schedule, it’s important to give your body time to rehabilitate after an injury.
- Ice: Put an ice pack on the injury for 20 minutes at a time. Repeat several times throughout the day. Ice helps with pain management, and it is also beneficial for reducing swelling.
- Compression: Adding compression to the injured area is another way to manage the swelling and keep the injury stable. For example, you might wrap the joint or use a brace to limit movement during recovery.
- Elevation: As you are resting, position your body to elevate the injury above your heart. This elevation can be beneficial for managing the swelling.
How to Know When You Need to See a Sports Medicine Doctor
Is it time for you to book an appointment with a sports medicine doctor? Here are a few signs that you will benefit from these services:
- You have an acute injury that occurred because of sports or exercise activities
- You want to improve your fitness and performance in the game
- You are experiencing chronic pain and want to find relief
- You are looking for ways to minimize the risk of sports-related injuries
While many players seek sports medicine treatments after an injury occurs, there is a notable benefit from taking a proactive approach to sports medicine. Working with a sports medicine doctor is a way to support your overall wellness and avoid common football injuries that could potentially happen in the future.
Right now is the perfect time of year to talk to a sports medicine doctor since the football season is underway. For more information, reach out to our team at Orthopedic Associates. We can help with everything from sports injuries to chronic pain and more. Contact us when you are ready to book an appointment. Call anytime: (972) 420-1776.