The Weekend Warrior's Guide to Eight Common Injuries
Get hurt during a workout last weekend? You're not alone. Exercise-obsessed baby boomers are reluctant to slow down as they agebut sometimes their bodies have different ideas. People with sports injuriesled by boomersare now the No. 2 group coming into the doctor's office, behind those complaining of a cold. And most of their aches and pains can be traced to a few common injuries that doctors see over and over.
We asked three specialists to offer advice on how to avoid the most common sports injuries and what to do if you're sidelined by one. Our experts: Nicholas DiNubile, an orthopedic surgeon based in Havertown, Pa., and author of FrameWork; Scott Rodeo, an orthopedic surgeon and researcher at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York; and Andrew Chen, an orthopedic surgeon based in Littleton, N.H., who is a spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
As a rule of thumb, if you feel sharp or stabbing pain (as opposed to sore muscles) during activitystop! If the pain doesn't go away after a few days off and some ice, seek medical advice. Here are several other guidelines for the injuries doctors see most often:
Rotator cuff problems
What goes wrong: The four muscles that sit right above your shoulder joint can get caught between the bones in the shoulder and upper arm, causing tendinitis and eventually a tear.
Who gets it: Weight lifters, swimmers, tennis players, volleyball players, baseball pitchers
Ways to prevent it: Ask a trainer to make sure your weight routine works all the rotator cuff muscles, not just the front part. How to fix it: Until it's healed, avoid aggravating it with repetitive motion or overhead weight lifting. If it doesn't get better with time, you may need surgery.
The latest treatment: Having blood drawn before surgery to isolate growth factor-containing platelets. Technicians then concentrate those platelets into something resembling a wad of chewing gum, which is put into the cuff to speed healing.
What goes wrong: Repetitive motion can cause tendinitis on either side of the elbow.
Who gets it: Tennis players (tennis elbow), racquetball and squash players, fencers, golfers (golfer's elbow)
Ways to prevent it: Ask a coach or a pro to make sure your technique is correct. One wrong move, repeated hundreds of times, can easily cause injury.
How to fix it: It usually doesn't require surgery, but you may need a brace or splint while you're taking time off to heal.
The latest treatment: The same platelet-concentrating technique used for the rotator cuff is being studied for tennis elbow.
What goes wrong: The cartilage in the knee breaks down, allowing the bones to rub together.
Who gets it: Could be anybody: One likely cause is something called "malalignment," where the upper and lower legs don't line up correctly. Being bowlegged or knock-kneed can make cartilage damage more likely.
Ways to prevent it: To counteract malalignment, your doc may prescribe physical therapy. Regular exercise can also help strengthen and balance the body.