Playing high school football is a thrilling experience that builds character, teamwork, and resilience in young athletes. However, along with the excitement comes the risk of injuries that can sideline even the most dedicated players. As part of our commitment to the health and well-being of our South Louisiana communities, LCMC Health Urgent Care is here to provide timely and expert care for common sports injuries that high school football players may encounter on the field. Here are eight sports injuries athletes should be aware of to help prevent injury all season long.
1. Ankle Sprains
Ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries. They occur when the ligaments that support the ankle are stretched or torn due to sudden movements. Different types of ankle sprains include eversion sprains, where the ankle rolls outward, and inversion sprains, where the ankle rolls inward.
Symptoms may range from pain and swelling to difficulty moving the ankle. To manage ankle sprains at home, remember the acronym R.I.C.E: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. If pain and swelling persist or you can’t put weight on the affected ankle, it’s time to visit urgent care.
2. Muscle Strains
The quadriceps and hamstrings are frequently engaged muscles in football, making them susceptible to strains. Muscle strains often result from sudden or excessive stretching, leading to pain, muscle weakness, and limited range of motion. Rest, gentle stretching, and over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate symptoms. Seek urgent care if the strain is severe, causing significant discomfort or hindering movement.
3. Rotator Cuff Strains
The rotator cuff comprises muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint. Football players can strain these structures through repetitive arm motions. Rotator cuff strain symptoms include pain when lifting the arm and difficulty reaching behind the back. Applying ice, avoiding strenuous activities, and performing gentle exercises can aid in recovery. Visit your closest urgent care if pain persists or you experience weakness in the affected arm.
4. Knee Ligament Injuries
Knee ligament injuries, such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, are among the most frequent and common sports injuries in football due to sudden changes in direction and pivoting. These injuries cause immediate pain, swelling, and instability in the knee. Other symptoms include a popping sound or sensation coming from the knee. Since knee ligament injuries can have long-term effects, prompt evaluation at urgent care is crucial.
5. Dislocated Joints
The impact of tackles or falls can lead to dislocated joints, where the bones are forced out of their normal positions. Dislocated joints cause intense pain, swelling, and visible deformity. It’s crucial not to attempt to force the joint back in place as this can damage the surrounding tissues and nerves. Instead, ice the injured joint and seek immediate medical attention at your closest urgent care to ensure safe and proper joint relocation.
6. Minor Bone Fractures
Football players can sustain minor bone fractures, commonly in the fingers, toes, or nose. While some fractures may only require rest and immobilization, others may need medical attention to ensure proper healing. If you suspect a fracture, visit urgent care for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate care. However, in the case of a broken neck or back or a compound fracture, contact emergency services or visit an emergency room immediately.
Concussions are a serious concern in contact sports like football. They result from head impact, leading to headaches, dizziness, confusion, and nausea. If a player shows any signs of a concussion, they must be evaluated by a medical professional experienced in head injuries. Urgent care can provide comprehensive assessments and guidance on managing concussions.
8. Achilles Tendonitis and Shin Splints
Achilles tendonitis (inflammation of the Achilles tendon) and shin splints (pain along the shinbone) often arise from overuse or improper footwear. Rest, ice, and proper stretching are essential for recovery. However, persistent or severe pain should prompt a visit to urgent care for accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment.
LCMC Health Urgent Care Can Help You Recover From Common Sports Injuries
The exhilaration of high school football can sometimes lead to unfortunate injuries. At LCMC Health Urgent Care, we’re dedicated to providing comprehensive care for these common sports injuries. Remember, seeking timely medical attention can make all the difference in a player’s recovery and future performance. To minimize wait times, we encourage patients to check in online at one of our eight urgent care locations. Walk-ins are always welcome, and our team of experienced medical professionals is here to help athletes get back in the game safely and swiftly. Your health and well-being are our top priorities!