Professional sports teams such as football and rugby have used acupuncture as well as other therapies such as massage, physiotherapy, osteopathy for a long time now. Indeed at the clinic we have treated Olympians, professional footballers, rugby players, golfers, snooker players etc. Due to the success of these sports many people take up these sports and literally put in a similar amount of training (you know you’re one of them) but don’t always have the support therapies to keep them healthy.
Musculoskeletal pain or dysfunction can have an inhibiting effect on training and results. Sports injuries are common, and vary from minor toe injuries to major complex trauma. Usually, only soft tissue is damaged, but there can also be fracturing of bone. Soft tissue injuries include sprains, strains and bruising. A sprain is a partial or complete rupture of a ligament, a strain is a partial tear of muscles and a bruise is a rupture of tissue leading to a haematoma. Any soft-tissue injury can lead to a tenderness, swelling, haematoma, scarring, fibrosis and loss of function.
Most common sports injuries include:
- Ankle (e.g. Achilles tendinitis, sprains)
- Knee (e.g. patellofemoral pain syndrome, ligament injuries, anterior cruciate ligament acl, Meniscus tear)
- Shoulder (e.g. dislocations, acromioclavicular joint injuries, rotator cuff injuries)
- Elbow (e.g. tennis, golfer’s)
- Wrist (e.g. strains, sprains, carpal tunnel, breaks)
- Leg (e.g. shin splints, stress fractures, hamstring injuries)
- Foot (e.g. plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma)
- Groin (strain)
Injuries can be caused by trauma as a result of a sudden impact or awkward movement, or can develop over time often due to continual use of the same joints or muscle groups. Contributing factors can be not warming, using inadequate equipment or training too hard for current level of fitness.
The aims of treat are to relieve pain, control inflammation, accelerate repair. Also, there should be restoration of function and recovery of muscle power. Conventional approaches to sports injuries include RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation), anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics, immobilisation, corticosteroid injections, physiotherapy and surgery.