Most athletes at some point in their training would have sustained an injury that would stick with them for the rest of their lives despite making a full recovery. For most, these injuries are more underlying and chronic than acute, resulting in perhaps a slightly lower quality of life in general. Here is an insight on some of the most common injuries that former athletes have.
ACL Tear or Strain
One of the most common attributes in sports is the requirement of changing directions during the game and ACL strains and tears come about when the maneuver is executed incorrectly. The ACL is a stabilizing ligament found in the knee and sudden impact to the knee can injure it. Aside from ACL tears and strains, other ligaments found in the knee are often injured together with it. Former athletes that sustain an injury to the ACL would find that their knees may never be in the same optimal condition as it was before the injury but still manage to return to their sport and daily life after proper physical therapy.
Sciatica or pain due to the compression of nerves in the lower back is another common occurrence in former athletes. Almost every sporting activity out there requires the use of the lower back and athletes who are prone to flexing their back are exposed to a greater risk of developing sciatica. The pain from sciatica travels from the lower back and radiates down to the lower legs during aggravated periods. Under proper recovery and physical therapy, sciatica can be controlled and rarely pose a risk to those who suffer from it.
Injuries to the shoulders can happen due to a variety of reasons, be it sprains, strains, dislocations or torn ligaments. Because of the large mobility in the shoulders, it is considered one of the most versatile joints as well as the weakest joint in the body. Not only are the shoulders able to exert a great deal of force, but they are able to do so with great flexibility. As a result, any time the stabilization is off in the shoulder joint, injury can occur. Former athletes with injuries to the shoulder may not experience that much of a difference in their lives once they complete their careers because their shoulders are not exposed to the same intensity in their daily lives.
In most sporting activities, it requires the twisting and flexing of the upper torso and the hip flexors are responsible for this. With the repeated movement of the hip flexors at high intensity for long periods of time, this can result in chronic strain in the hip flexors, resulting in pain. For others, pain can be in the form of hip bursitis, where the bursal sac outside of the hips become inflamed. Pain may become more apparent in former athletes as they age or get involved in more intense activities.
Finally, pain in the elbows is common in former athletes, especially those that are involved in high-speed activation of their arms in a swinging motion. The term tennis elbow refers to injury towards the tendon area surrounding the outside of the elbow and chronic inflammation can result in pain throughout life. With proper therapy and less intense arm movements, former athletes suffering from tennis elbows can avoid the pain from this injury in their daily lives.