Football, soccer, cross-fit, cross-country, basketball, tennis, track, dance, wrestling, and baseball; the list goes on and on. While each sport has its own set of unique rules, and guidelines, to ensure fair, fun, and safe play, they also contain their own inherent risks.
Certain injuries, such as bruises, “stingers,” and sprains/strains, occur in almost every sport across the board. One of the most common injuries seen in sports, especially when running, pivoting, and jumping is involved, is the infamous ankle sprain. An ankle sprain involves the quick and sudden stretching of a ligament (connective tissue connecting two bones) past its normal range of flexibility. This stretching often results in tiny microscopic tears to the ligament, resulting in pain, swelling, and potential instability to the area. While it is possible to injure both the inside (eversion sprain) and outside (inversion sprain) of the ankle, it is estimated that nearly 90% of all ankle injuries occur at the outer aspect.
While the injury may heal on its own, with time, it is still important to seek medical attention. Due to the fact that we are constantly on our feet, walking, standing, etc., it is difficult for the injury to heal properly without the rest of the body developing some sort of compensation. For example, if an individual injures their right ankle they will typically put most of their weight on the left side to avoid pain/stress on the right. As this continues, the left side of the body becomes overworked until the person develops pain in the left ankle, knee, hip, low back, neck, or anywhere in between. This is known as the “kinetic chain” effect, where an issue in one part of the body can influence other parts of the body both above and below. A prime example of this would be to look at the foundation of a house. If the foundation began to crumble on one side of the house, causing the house to shift, the walls and roof above would also become affected.
When treating sports injuries it is always best to consider a conservative, full body approach; this is where Chiropractic comes in. As noted previously, when a tissue is injured it typically results in pain, swelling, and compensation. These side-effects often cause a restriction in the normal range of motion of nearby joints and muscles. To effectively treat the injury, it is essential to restore proper biomechanics to these joints, and flexibility/strength to the surrounding soft tissues. While chiropractors utilize a wide array of treatments, the most common therapeutic procedure is known as an “adjustment.” The adjustment involves applying a controlled force into a joint that has become hypomobile (restricted). This force not only improves mobility of the joint itself, but also stimulates tiny receptors within the joint, and surrounding tissues, that help to down-regulate the pain/inflammation system.
Along with the adjustment, your Doctor of Chiropractic may suggest additional modalities, such as electric stimulation, kinesiotape, therapeutic ultrasound, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, and myofascial release, to speed recovery. Based on the results of your examination, the Doctor may also prescribe injury specific exercises/stretches, as well as suggestions for nutritional support and lifestyle modifications. As a rule of thumb, the quicker an injury is treated, and the more compliant the athlete is with care recommendations, the quicker the athlete will recover.
Other sports injuries treated with chiropractic care include, but are not limited to, neck pain, low back pain, pulled muscles, bursitis, tennis/golfer’s elbow, knee pain, shoulder pain, tendinitis, groin pulls, plantar fasciitis, and shin splints.