By Dr. Edward Loniewski, DO
Football season is upon us. Football is famous for action, and also producing injuries. Due to the forces generated, as well as the mismatch in body sizes among players, injuries to various body parts are common. Interestingly, injuries are more common during games, compared to during practice. It is thought that the athletes "play harder" during the game, and are more likely to take risks.
The following is a partial list of some of the injuries we see and treat every day this time of year, related to football:
Knee injuries come in a variety of types. Frequently, we see injuries to the ACL, or MCL, or both. In addition, meniscus tears are quite frequent with either of those types of injury (especially ACL tears). Some trainers have access to cryotherapy units, which are very useful on the field for inflammation and pain control. Ice bags are also commonly used.
There are two common types of shoulder injuries sustained in football:
Typically, this is reduced on the field by the trainer or doctor (or coach). If the shoulder is unable to be reduced, the player is usually sent immediately to the hospital for reduction in the emergency room. Please read our detailed information about shoulder dislocations for more information.
An AC separation is also known as a "separated shoulder". This is a tear of the ligaments between the clavicle and acromion bone, which causes the clavicle (collar bone) to stick up. Most of these are treated without surgery, although rehabilitation is often required before returning to play.
To reduce swelling and discomfort in your shoulder, cryotherapy is a great option. Try our Dura*Soft™ Shoulder Wrap to help get your shoulder on the mend.
Ankle sprains are graded 1-3, based on severity. The less severe sprains are often easily managed and athletes can return to play within several days to weeks. Football players can also sustain "high ankle sprains", also referred to as "syndesmotic sprains"; these are more severe and require casting for a short period of time. To reduce swelling and discomfort in your ankle, cryotherapy is a great option.
These occur when the nerves in the area of the neck are stretched, causing a temporary numbness, sharp stinging pain, and sometimes weakness in the arm. Luckily, these usually go away on their own. A stinger should always be reported to the coach, athletic trainer, and doctor.
Graded 1-3 based on severity. In the mildest concussion, a player may be allowed to return to play that game, after he has been cleared by the team doctor. More severe concussions require evaluation with special tests, and prolonged time off football.
Thankfully, these are mostly just sprains, which often respond nicely to bracing and rehabilitation exercise. More severe impacts can cause herniated discs, or even fractures. It is a well known fact that football players, especially linemen who have had a long career, go on to get arthritis in their backs due to the stress placed on them during their career. To reduce swelling and discomfort in your lower back, cryotherapy is a great option.
Just about any bone can be broken in football, from small bones such as fingers, to severe injuries such as the spine. All broken bones should be treated by a doctor familiar in their care. On the field, the athletic trainer will usually "splint" the injured extremity, and send the player for x-rays and appropriate medical follow-up.
This is a contusion to the area of the hip known as the "iliac crest". Hip pointers are treated with ice and padding.
Hamstring sprains ("pulls")
These are very frustrating stretches of the hamstring muscles. They are treated best by ice, compression, and rest. It is very difficult to predict return to sports after this injury; some heal within days, some take several weeks. To reduce swelling and discomfort in your hamstrings, cryotherapy is a great option. Try our DonJoy IceMan Classic to help get your hamstrings on the mend.
Usually the result of a direct impact to the front of the thigh (by a helmet). There are 3 grades (sound familiar? Orthopedic surgeons love to grade everything into 3 groups; other doctors say that's because they can only count that high!). Ice and compression are important. Early motion helps to prevent stiffness. To reduce swelling and discomfort in your quadriceps, cryotherapy is a great option.
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