4 Athletic Injuries You Shouldn't Try to Push Through on Your Own
Athletic injuries can range from mildly irritating to completely demobilizing. Training through certain injuries or leaving them untended can lead to chronic pain conditions, permanent nerve damage and even arthritis later in life. If you're an active individual, it's important to research common types of sports injuries and how to prevent them. While you may not be able to fully avoid every twist or sprain, you can learn about how to identify different injuries and know which ones require medical attention ASAP.
When you try to lift too much weight, muscle tears occur. Similarly, if you put too much pressure on one of your bones, a stress fracture happens. These are microscopic breaks that most often affect the legs. Commonly known as "shin splints," stress fractures in the lower leg are often caused by performing high-intensity exercises too quickly or without adequate endurance training. If you feel any pain touching the area or it worsens when you apply pressure or hop up and down, stop all physical activity and see a doctor. Failure to recover from stress fractures makes you more vulnerable to a full break, which requires casts, bedrest and possibly corrective surgery.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome, commonly known as "runner's knee", develops when the cartridge in the kneecap is damaged from overexertion and causes pain, typically by rubbing against the femur. Runner's knee can take up to five months to resolve with treatment; if you push through it and ignore knee pain, you could suffer lifelong pain and further wear away the cartilage. It's best to engage in physical therapy and get new exercise recommendations from your doctor until you recover.
Achilles Tendon Injuries
The Achilles tendon connects your calf muscles to your ankle. Many people mistakenly think that this type of injury always leads to crippling pain, so they could never possibly ignore it, but this isn't the case. Achilles injuries can also be mild, marked by tightness, swelling or a small bump on the heel. Working out with an achilles tendon can slightly alleviate the pain, which makes it tempting to keep training through it. Extended use can lead to a chronic condition called Achilles tendinosis or a full tear, which requires surgery. If you suspect you have anything wrong with your Achilles tendon, speak to your doctor right away. Most cases can be resolved easily through physical therapy at an injury rehab clinic.
If you ever experience sudden spasms of pain in the upper leg or buttocks, you may be suffering from a muscle tear. The tears can be extremely small or large enough to sever attachment to the bone. Most tears are uncommon, but strains or pain in the upper legs should be addressed with a physician. Developing a strong core and engaging in exercises that don't put too much stress on your legs will help prevent hamstring injuries.
Just because your body can pull off an exercise does not mean it's prepared to perform or recover from it. Protecting yourself from sports injuries can be done with pre- and post-workout stretches, proper posture and endurance training. Always build up your routines, and never try to do more than you know your body can handle.