Spring and Orthopedic Injuries
With spring comes a desire to take your training routine outdoors. The same is true when it comes to outdoor sports and activities – including home improvement and yard work. But with the warmer weather also comes the risk of orthopedic injury. Here is what you may encounter since spring has sprung and summer is just around the corner.
Hand and Wrist Injuries
Whether your spring entails gardening, repairing your gutters, playing tennis or basketball, or riding your bike, your hands and wrists are at risk of orthopedic injury. In fact, with 27 bones in your hand and another eight in your wrist, expect any number of potential hazards. As an example, sprains and strains – as well as dislocations – are very common from falls, playing too hard, or digging too deep. Any number of tendinosis may occur, especially from overuse of wrist tendons. Sports injuries may include Trigger Finger and Trigger Thumb, and fractures can occur from any number of unexpected accidents. In fact, wrist fractures comprise a surprising 10 percent of all broken bone injuries; meanwhile, symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may be realized after a winter of dormancy – especially from the vibrations and repetitive motions that are common from bike riding, lawn cutting, and spring cleaning.
Back and Neck Injuries
Getting your back into the game may also mean injury. Heavy lifting and falls can result in strains, damaged discs and pinched nerves. Going on hikes, carrying kayaks to and from the river and lifting dead trees in the yard all can contribute to back and neck injuries. Don’t forget to take it slow if your winter wasn’t as active as you would have liked. It takes time to strengthen the back muscles so start first by building a strong core and taking care when lifting or otherwise exerting yourself.
Repetitive and Overuse Injuries
In the springtime, you can expect Tennis and Golfer’s elbow, Rotator Cuff injuries, tendonitis, and edema – just a few of the injuries that can occur from performing ongoing, repetitive tasks that involve vibrations, forceful exertions, mechanical compression, or sustained/awkward positions. If you are experiencing tenderness, stiffness and/or tingling in the affected area, or pain with movement, chances are you have exhausted your joint or tendon to the point of sustaining a repetitive or reuse injury.
One can develop a knee injury over years from wear and tear and overuse. However, springtime seems to bring with it more acute knee injuries, one of which is tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The ACL is responsible for stabilizing the knee. ACL tears result from sudden changes in movement and speed and by quick rotations – basically when your body moves but your knee is stationary. ACL tears are incredibly common, even with elite athletes. Conditioning and wearing proper shoes for the task reduce your risk of an ACL or knee injury.
Who doesn’t love to run barefoot through the grass or on the beach? The problem is, lack of support for your feet can result in injury, particularly plantar fasciitis, which presents as painful, stiff feet after long periods of inactivity. Likewise, broken or dislocated toes and sprained ankles are very common in spring from long hikes, hard falls, or ankle rolls.