There is no question that participation in individual or team sports provides many positive physical and mental benefits. However, sports can also be extremely physically taxing resulting in all sorts of body stress and trauma.

Sports injuries can hit anyone at any time. No matter how physically fit you are, such injuries are a hard fact of life for athletes, but it shouldn’t be a reason to avoid doing the things you love. While you may not be able to prevent a pulled muscle or ankle sprain, there are precautions you can take to help reduce the likelihood of occurrence and ways you can help your body recover faster from injury.

Here are the top 5 reasons people end up in a sports physiotherapy clinic and what you can do to help avoid it.

Runner’s Knee

Runner’s knee is a broad term used to describe several conditions that cause inflammation and dull pain in the front area of the knee. But despite the name, it doesn’t affect just runners. The situation can be brought on by overuse, weight, muscle weakness or imbalances, and issues with your feet that can affect the way you walk and the movement of your knees.

Depending on the cause of the pain, runner’s knee treatment may include rest, elevation, icing, and over-the-counter medication to help heal inflammation. Muscle strengthening, proper stretching before and after exercise, and well-fitted running shoes can also help prevent future injuries.

Shoulder Injuries

The rotator cuff houses a group of four major muscles and tendons which surround the shoulder joint and keep the arm firmly in place with the shoulder socket. It is also the most common source of shoulder injuries.

Rotator cuff injuries often present as dull pain which can worsen over time if left untreated. Muscle strengthening and stretching are key to preventing shoulder injuries particularly if you’ve suffered one before. As part of the recovery process, both rest and anti-inflammatories are typically recommended.

Tennis Elbow

Injuries to the elbow account for nearly 10% of sports physiotherapy clinic clients. Tennis elbow is a term used to describe a painful condition where the elbow’s tendons become overexerted. It results from frequent, repetitive motions, as you would see in tennis players. It can also affect people training or working in fields that require continuous and repetitive arm movement.

Tennis elbow often goes away on its own with RICE – rest, ice, compression, elevation. However, sports physiotherapy to improve muscle strength can help with longer-term prevention.

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is common to many people and not only those who exercise or train regularly. Immediate relief from this type of injury can often be found by using hot/cold treatment- first icing and then applying heat.

However, for long-term support, research suggests that a combination of regular stretching and strengthening exercises are the most effective tools against chronic lower back pain. A sports physiotherapy clinic can create a personalized program incorporating both in-person and at-home exercises for you.

Groin Strain

A groin strain or pull can happen quickly. A sudden movement in the wrong direction is enough to injure the abductor muscles of the inner thigh. And while not usually a severe injury, it can nonetheless be extremely painful. Anti-inflammatories and RICE are the immediate treatments for a groin strain. A serious injury, however, can take weeks to heal fully and may require sports physiotherapy to help.

If a sports-related injury has you sitting on the bench, a sports physiotherapy clinic can help get you back on the field again in no time.