Most common injuries for athletes

By Amanda Lowrance

Most common injuries for athletes

Local fall sports have kicked off and Kristi Davidson of Star Physical Therapy has answered some frequently asked questions and prepared guidelines to follow in case of an injury.

On the sidelines at most
McNairy Central football or basketball games, Kristi helps the limping or injured athlete get back into the game or prepares the injury for healing.

She is allowed to work on the sidelines with
accreditations from two licenses, one in physical therapy and another in athletic training. 

What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?

A sprain is bone-to-bone and usually occurs in the ankle, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), or knee. It is caused by overstretching or tearing of tissues or ligaments.

A strain is muscle-to-bone and usually occurs in the hamstring or calf muscle. It is caused by overstretching of the muscles.

The most common injury treated on the sideline is an ankle sprain. In football, basketball and volleyball athletes tend to plant the foot and turn, which causes stress on the ligaments.

Symptoms include swelling, pain, loss of motion, and a decrease in balance and strength.

Kristi recommends using the R-I-C-E acronym, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Rest decreases activity, ice decreases pain and swelling, compression and elevation above the heart decreases swelling.

Many people ask whether to use hot or cold in this situation, because heat feels better on an injury.

Kristi suggests for the first 48 to 72 hours, using ice for 10 minutes and then taking the ice off for 60 minutes. This may be repeated and helps decrease blood flow to decrease swelling and pain. Doctors call this method vasoconstriction.

After 72 hours, alternate heat and ice in 10 minute increments. The ice will continue to decrease swelling, while the heat will make the injury feel better.

If the R-I-C-E method does not work and you are no longer able to walk, or have an obvious deformity, excessive swelling, or color changes beyond bruising, see a physician for further treatment.

Another common injury is a knee sprain or ACL sprain. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, over 100,000 ACL sprains occur each year. Half involve other tissues in the knee, not just the ACL.

Other tissues include the posterior cruciate ligament or PCL, medial collateral ligament or MCL, and lateral collateral ligament or LCL.

The ACL is attached in front of the tibia and on the back of the femur and provides rotational stability.

Most ACL injuries occur by pivoting, suddenly changing direction, or landing from a jump. This injury does not require contact and can occur in any sport.

Knee sprains have to be diagnosed by a doctor because they could involve other injury factors. A torn ACL requires surgery and up to eight months of therapy to return back to sports.

This is where the importance of physical therapy is. Even with sprains and strains it is important to help not reinjure.

Kristi graduated from Lambuth University with a bachelor in physical therapy and later received her master’s in physical therapy as well.

Star is an outpatient orthopedic clinic specializing in bone, joint, muscle, and tendon injuries.

This fall Kristi will not be on the sidelines throughout the season because she is due to have a baby in October. 

Kristi’s husband John Davidson will take her place on the sidelines while she recovers.

“I feel lucky that we both do the same thing,” said Kristi. “He will help cover my team while I’m out.”

John is well-known at Star Physical Therapy in Henderson, Tenn., just as Kristi is known at the Selmer location.