Achilles tendinosis is a degenerative condition characterized by pain and swelling in and around the Achilles tendon at the back of the lower leg.
If left untreated, Achilles tendinosis can produce further degeneration in your tendon and even cause small tears, which may lead to a partial or complete rupture of your Achilles tendon
Ankle sprains are among the most common of all sports-related injuries. The ankle joint is designed to adapt to uneven terrain, but a sudden or forceful twisting motion can result in damage to the ankle ligaments. In severe sprains, the ligaments may be torn and the ankle dislocated. In some cases, the bones around the ankle may also be fractured.
If the damage to your ligaments is severe, you may be at risk of permanent ankle instability and it is likely that you will sprain your ankle again. If you repeatedly sprain your ankle you may need surgery to tighten the ligaments around the joint. If you do not undergo proper rehabilitation you may suffer from chronic pain and permanent instability, and there is a risk that you will develop osteoarthritis in your ankle.
The group of muscles that make up the calf provide the power for extending the foot and raising the heel. Explosive contractions of these muscles can cause strains and, less commonly, a rupture of the muscle fibers.
If you think you have damaged your calf, you should always consult a doctor as there is a risk that blood clots may form in your leg. In the long term, a severe strain or rupture of the calf muscle may lead you to adjust your running or walking technique, causing injuries in other parts of your body.
FOOT TENDON INJURIES
Overuse is the most common cause of sports injury to the extensor tendons, which run along the top of the foot, and the flexor tendons, which run along the bottom of the foot. The extensor tendons may also be damaged by a dropped object or if the foot is stamped on.
Persistent (chronic) tendinosis is a sign that the tendons are failing to heal properly. The condition is difficult to manage and there is a risk that the tendons will eventually rupture, which may require surgery. In some cases, a foot affected by tendinosis may never completely return to normal, although it can become quite painless.
The term “groin strain” refers to the overstretching, tearing, or rupturing of any of the five adductor muscles of the inner thigh. In most cases, groin strains are minor tears of a few muscle fibres, with the bulk of the muscle remaining intact.
Groin strain usually heals without any problems. Although stretching exercises are an important part of rehabilitation and treatment, overdoing them may result in your injury taking a longer time to heal.
Each of the muscles of the hamstrings is susceptible to strains and ruptures. Hamstring injuries can vary in severity from fairly minor contusions (bruises) and moderately serious stretches and strains up to full-scale ruptures.
Returning to sport before your hamstrings heal properly can lead to the injury recurring. Left untreated, it may cause the tightness in your hamstrings to become worse. “Hamstring syndrome” may develop, in which scar tissue from injured muscles traps your sciatic nerve, causing more pain.
ILIOTIBIAL BAND SYNDROME
The iliotibial band (ITB) is involved in extending (straightening) the knee, moving the hip sideways, and stabilizing the leg during running. Overuse of this tendon can cause iliotibial band syndrome, in which the ilitiobial band becomes painful.
If iliotibial band syndrome is left untreated, you may experience persistent long-term pain in your knee and hip.
KNEE TENDON INJURIES
The patellar tendon connects the kneecap to the shin bone at the bony bump at the top of the shin. Patellar tendinosis is a common injury in athletes; rupture of the patellar tendon is less common but more serious.
Without treatment, patellar tendinosis can lead to a weakening of your leg muscles and long-term knee pain. Complications of a tendon rupture are similar, but also include infection and possible displacement of your kneecap. Left untreated could lead to further knee pain and swelling, and muscle loss in your knee tendon.
Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions to aid smooth joint movement. Each of the three main knee bursae are susceptible to injury and inflammation. When a knee bursa is inflamed, movement of the knee joint becomes painful -a condition known as patellar bursitis.
Occasionally, the skin over your kneecap may be broken, allowing bacteria to spread into the fluid of the bursa, causing an infection. If an inflamed bursa is left untreated, you may develop chronic bursitis.
The four quadriceps muscles are involved in walking, running, and straightening and bending the leg. They are all susceptible to injury, as are the tendons in the thigh. The severity of injuries to these muscles ranges from bruises, strains of the tendon or muscle, to ruptures.
An untreated tear can lead to severe loss of mobility and flexibility in the affected area.
The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that stretches from the heel to the base of the toes, supporting the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is a chronic condition in which the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, causing pain. Often, when an X-ray is taken to diagnose plantar fasciitis, a calcium deposit is found over the calcaneus (heel bone) – this is known as a heel spur.
Untreated plantar fasciitis will usually worsen, making walking painful. You may also experience knee, hip, and lower-back problems. An untreated heel spur may make your surrounding tendons inflamed, encouraging calcium deposits and worsening your heel spur.
Shin splints is a general term that is often used to describe exercise-induced pain felt in the front of the lower leg.
Untreated shin splints may stop you from doing any running. In serious cases it may cause stress fractures of the tibia.
CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve that supplies part of the hand. The nerve runs through the carpal tunnel, a narrow space at the wrist.
Over time, the muscles at the base of your hand may weaken, causing reduced function. Even after surgery, carpal tunnel syndrome may return if you use your hand as before.
The elbow bursa is a fluid-filled sac that reduces friction at the point where tendons and muscles move over bone. An injured bursa may produce excess fluid, causing painful swelling.
Sometimes an untreated elbow bursa can become infected. If your bursa is infected, the elbow may be red. Infection can cause the elbow joint to deteriorate over time.
TENNIS / GOLFER’S / THROWER’S ELBOW
Tennis elbow is inflammation where the tendons join the outer point of the upper arm bone, while golfer’s elbow is inflammation where the tendons join the inner point of the upper arm bone. Thrower’s elbow causes pain on both sides of the joint. All these injuries are the result of overuse of the elbow joint.
If these conditions are not treated correctly you may experience long-term loss of strength and flexibility, as well as pain when performing everyday tasks.
Neck strain is a general term for strains of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the cervical spine. Whiplash is a form of neck strain caused by violent jolting of the head back and forth, usually as the result of a sudden impact.
Untreated, neck strain and whiplash can cause long-term pain, restricted movement of your neck, and sleep loss. Undiagnosed “neck injuries” may actually be a neck fracture or a symptom of a back injury, both of which are potentially serious and could cause paralysis. As a consequence, you should always seek immediate medical attention if you have injured your neck.
ROTATOR CUFF INJURIES
Tears to the rotator cuff often occur with a sudden, overhead movement of the arm. A rotator cuff tendinosis, in which there is no tear but the tendon is painful, is caused mainly by repetitive overhead arm actions.
An untreated rotator cuff injury will become increasingly inflamed and painful, and motion can be reduced, leading to an inability to rotate your shoulder. In the long term, you may develop bone spurs.
SHOULDER JOINT INFLAMMATION
The shoulder joint consists of a ball and socket – the head of the upper arm bone and the glenoid cavity – surrounded by muscles, ligaments, tendons, and soft tissue.
Untreated bursitis may lead to further inflammation and possible infection of the fluid inside your bursae, which may require surgery, while untreated impingement syndrome may cause your shoulder to become stiff and immobile, and your tendons to tear, if you engage in sports. Frozen shoulder may initially worsen, leading to further lack of mobility, although it can eventually improve on its own. A build-up of scar tissue on your muscles, however, may result in you needing surgery.
The piriformis muscle functions to help the hip joint to rotate outwards and abduct the thigh (move it away from the body). Piriformis syndrome occurs when the muscle compresses or irritates the sciatic nerve, causing pain in the buttocks and along the back of the thigh -a condition known as sciatica.
Prolonged irritation of your piriformis muscle may cause your tendons to become scarred and lead to chronic symptoms such as persistent pain, reduced motion in your hip joint, numbness in your foot, and difficulty walking.
SACROILIAC JOINTS INFLAMMATION
The sacroiliac joints function as shock absorbers for the body. They move very little but are key in transferring weight from the upper body to the legs, and enabling the body to twist when the legs are moving. Inflammation can occur due to injury or from wear and tear, and is a common cause of low back pain.
If you wake every morning with a stiff lower back that lasts for more than 30 minutes, seek medical attention. This may signify inflammatory arthritis, an infrequent but important cause of sacroiliac joint pain.
SLIPPED DISC AND SCIATICA
Between each vertebra of the spine is a disc of cartilage that acts as a shock-absorbing pad – these discs have a soft, jelly-like centre and a tough, fibrous outer layer. if the discs burst or slip, the fluid puts pressure on the spinal nerve roots. Sciatica is a general term for lower back pain that extends into the buttock, thigh, or calf.
Secondary pressure on other joints of your spine may lead to arthritis. If your spinal cord is compressed, you may experience weakness in both legs, and bowel or bladder dysfunction, or loss of feeling around your perineum or anus – this is a medical emergency.
Trochanteric bursitis is an inflammatory disorder that affects the bony point at the side of the hip. The condition occurs when the bursa – a fluid-filled sac that eases movement between the ball and socket bony joint and the gluteus maximus – becomes aggravated by overuse.
If you leave trochanteric bursitis untreated, and continue to play sport, you will experience ongoing hip pain. The pain may stay at the same level of intensity, but in some cases it could increase in severity.