If you’re an athlete, or you ever have been, you likely know all about the traditional injuries and maladies associated with your sport. For basketball players, it means tight knees, stiff lower backs, twisted ankles, and jammed fingers; for soccer players, pulled hamstrings, hyperextensions, and the occasional scrape from a slide. But there are also some injuries and medical situations that can arise from athletics that you don’t always see coming, and if you ever encounter any of them it’s useful to know what to do. So without further ado, let’s look at some of the conditions that fall into this category.
Shin splints can come up for just about any kind of athlete, and they’re maddeningly unpredictable and non-specific. If you’ve ever had them, you’ll recognize the symptoms: basically, shooting pains up your shins when you’re engaging in athletic activity. They’re relatively common for athletes who do a lot of cardio, such as runners and basketball and soccer players. And they can be pretty hard to get rid of with anything other than extended rest (which usually isn’t something you want to do if you consider yourself an athlete!).
But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing that can be done for the problem. The symptoms may be felt primarily along your shinbones, but in fact the underlying cause can occasionally have to do with your foundation. In some cases, a podiatrist can actually analyze your gait and walking or running style and then recommend special soles or specific shoes that can result in less strain on your legs. It’s not an exact cure, but in some cases it can rid an athlete of shin splints.
This sounds a little bit gruesome, but it might happen more than you think – and not just to professional hockey players who are famous for their brutal, toothless grimaces. All it takes to have a tooth knocked out is some well-timed contact at exactly the right angle, in some cases. That means that pretty much anyone playing a contact sport is at least at some risk of experiencing what it feels like to have a tooth fall out.
Frankly, it would be understandable to panic if this happened to you. It’s pretty alarming, not just to lose a tooth but also to see it in its entirety, down to the root. Fortunately, however, if you handle the incident correctly, you can actually save the tooth. It’s recommended that you pick it up, literally put it back in place if you’re able to, and seek dental assistance as soon as possible. Quite often, athletes are able to have their teeth reinserted successfully.
This is a nasty little injury that can be somewhat embarrassing for some people, simply because it’s associated with the groin. But in reality, a sports hernia is usually just a small tear in the muscles that make up the groin and lower abdomen. It can happen in lots of different athletic situations, and it tends to cause a great deal of discomfort just because of how often we use this general region of the body for movement.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to go about fixing a sports hernia on your own unless it’s a particularly minor one and you’re able to simply stay still for days at a time. In most cases, you should consult your doctor and may ultimately need to see a surgeon, who in turn will perform a minimally invasive procedure to fix you right up.
We’ll finish up with this one, because it’s one that most people would be surprised to learn is very common among athletes – and particularly among runners. Because regular, strenuous running requires a great deal of blood to be diverted for use in the body’s muscles, gastrointestinal tracts can wind up being somewhat undersupplied. This can result in anything from acid reflux to diarrhea, which, it goes without saying, can be unpleasant.
In a lot of cases these issues are fairly minor, and some regular runners may even simply get used to them. But if you experience anything like this in your own athletic pursuits, you should consult a gastroenterologist just to make sure that there’s not a more serious problem, as well as that there’s nothing more you can be doing. It certainly doesn’t hurt to get yourself looked at by a knowledgeable professional, in this or any of the circumstances mentioned here.