Ever experienced a thumb or wrist sprain? Here are 3 simple ways to prevent arm injuries!
Injuries from accidents are unpredictable. You can be extremely careful while playing sports or exercising, but slip and fall and adopt a shoulder injury or fracture your wrist.
But common chronic sport and exercise injuries to the components of your arms often happen for other reasons - technique, bad form or overdoing it. There is a lot you can do to prevent those problems.
True to BMT-style, you need to understand the anatomy of your arm first. Medically, the arm is just part of the upper limb between the shoulder and elbow joints and extends to the shoulder girdle (clavicle and scapula) as well. But we commonly refer the arm as the entire limb, extending to the hand. And of course, divide it into the forearm which extends from the elbow to the hand and the upper arm, which refers to the part from the elbow to the shoulder. As simple as the arm may be, the arm consists of many joints and this increases the risk of injury.
Arm injuries have multiple causes, namely, acute injury, overuse, bad technique or insufficient physical fitness during strenuous activities. It may be a small sprain or dislocation, but many delay the diagnosis and treatment of these minor issues, only to find that they turn chronic later on. Luckily, some awareness and knowledge of these injuries can prevent these problems.
Sports like basketball, ultimate and baseball, witness thumb sprains frequently as players catch the ball or disc. The thumb is usually pushed backward with force, stretching or tearing the ligament.
Other tendon-related injuries in the hands are also possible in sports such as rock climbing or bouldering where overuse of the finger grips are seen. These are easily diagnosed where you find yourself unable to straighten or bend a finger.
Other injuries include cuts, soft tissue injuries, infections, fractures and dislocations, nail injuries or high pressure injuries.
Wrist and Forearm Injuries
These injuries are the most common as they are the first contact of impact. When you fall, you most likely will use your hand to soften the impact to your body. As a result, your wrist and forearm takes the brunt of it. Wrist fractures are very common in sports like skateboarding, skating and football. Falling awkwardly may cause your wrist to bend backward, tearing the ligament that connects the bones in the wrist.
Minor wrist sprains are often overlooked and at BMT we have also encountered athletes who attempt at "stretching" out the sprain only to aggravate it further. Treat every wrist sprain with proper care and always strengthen your wrists and forearms to prevent these injuries.
Elbow injuries are often the cause of overuse and repetitive motion. Two common problems are tennis elbow and golfer's elbow. Despite the names of these injuries, they can develop in anyone who uses their arms repeatedly, such as violinists.
Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis is the inflammation of the tendons outside the elbow. The backhand motion of tennis players can aggravate the condition.
Golfer's elbow on the other hand, is caused by the inflamed tendons inside of the elbow, near the pinky side of the arm. It is also known as medial epicondylitis. It is usually caused by poor technique in swinging the golf club.
In sports medicine, another common injury is the torn ulnar collateral ligament, which is often seen in baseball players. Also known as the medial collateral ligament, it is important for stabilizing the elbow in many other throwing sports, such as basketball, javelin, and even ice hockey.
The following pointers apply to all sorts of injury prevention, not just the arm. While you may have heard of the tips before, we have found that despite having the knowledge of these advice, many athletes and individuals still ignore them and get injured!
1. Limit overuse: Particularly in sports, there is a tendency by athletes to overuse their limbs. Understand your limits and make sure rest is part of your exercise regime. As Coach Prince says, rest is also a form of exercise.
2: Get fit right: Understanding the correct technique for any sport or exercise is also important. That is why BMT has the motto "Get Fit Right". Having the wrong form or using wrong equipment can put you at higher risk of injury. Again, we cannot stress enough that understanding and knowing the correct way to exercise or play a certain sport is extremely important.
3. Never overestimate: Be the best version of yourself at all times and never overestimate your ability. Being in shape for a sport or exercise will prevent injuries. Your muscles need to be strong and trained for the sport or exercise you wish to partake in. All-around training is the best way to keep injuries at bay. Warming up and cooling down before and after an activity is also important.
Prevention is key and BMT can help you get fit right! Just drop us a message at [email protected] and we'll get back to you!