A sports injury is any musculoskeletal condition caused during physical activity, sporting activity, aerobic activity, or exercise.
A sports injury can be:
- muscle strain
- ligament sprain
- bone fracture
- tendon rupture
Children, youth athletes, and college athletes are more likely to get a sports injury than older adults. Boys/men are more likely than girls/women to get a sports injury.
Causes of sports injuries
The causes of sports injury include:
- generally poor conditioning
- failure to warm up
- poor technique
- athletic overtraining and specialization
Adults get sports injuries mostly because of poor conditioning. For example, weekend warriors may become injured after a period of deconditioning. Or, a dad who is normally not physically active might trip head-over-heels while engaging in a foot race. New aerobic activities require muscle memory.
Failure to warm up
Doctors of sports medicine also advise warming up. Failure to warm up can lead to injury because muscles are not prepared for the rapid extending or contracting that sporting activities require.
Amateurs and league athletes alike develop repetitive use injuries from poor technique. Using poor technique repetitively places undue pressure on joints, muscles, and other soft tissue. For example, poor backhand technique in racquet sports will result in tennis elbow over time (Sports Medicine).
Overspecialization in youth sports causes injury
Overspecialization in youth sports is a major concern in sports medicine. It is also a major cause of sports injury. Overspecialization is the playing of and training for one sport only. In the process, the same soft tissue get stressed repeatedly.
After injuries occur, recovery time may not be adequate. Then, when an athlete returns to the field, he/she may come back too hard and too fast by overtraining. Unfortunately, this may cause reinjury and perhaps an end to one’s participation in a sport.
A reliable tool called the RESTQ-Sport collects information from athletes themselves. Research of RESTQ—and research in general—point out the need for balanced rest times and stress loads. By recording training frequency, recovery time, and athletes’ physical and mental reaction to training stress, the questionnaire (the “Q”) detects overtraining.
Physical therapy and Pilates for sports injury
The goal of physical therapy is to return the player to a prior level of functioning with no pain. This is especially important for adolescent athletes, who are still developing physically. “No pain, no gain,” should not be a guiding mantra for them.
Role of Pilates in rehabilitating sports injury
For sports injury rehab
Pilates is particularly suited to rehab of injury. The discipline emphasizes the use of core muscles for movement. As a result, athletes have boasted of developing balanced, explosive strength as well as improved performance.
Pilates improves muscles of the Powerhouse, which includes the core muscles and hip complex. For golfers and pitchers, it stabilizes the pelvis, strengthens the core, back and glutes. From this locus, they develop a base of strength that lends to flexible, explosive movement (McCullough).
For sports injury prevention
Pilates prevents further injury because it conditions the overall body. As a result of flexibility and strength and balance, there is less injury. The effect of this can be extended years of playing.
Other benefits of Pilates for athletic injuries
Athletes can use Pilates for:
- off-season training
- using neglected muscles
- relieving of muscle tightness
- avoiding re-injury
- “Poor Technique – Causes of Sports Injuries.” Sports Medicine Information, Sports Medicne, 2009, www.nsmi.org.uk/articles/causes-sports-injuries/poor-technique.html.
- Abbott, Henry. “Big Tough Men Doing Funny Stretchy Exercises.” ESPN, ESPN Internet Ventures, 9 Aug. 2005, www.espn.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/470/big-tough-men-doing-funny-stretchy-exercises.
- Aptacasts, ~. “Sports Psychology and Injury Rehabilitation.” APTA Podcasts, American Physical Therapy Association, 6 Nov. 2014, aptacasts.com/2014/11/06/sports-psychology-and-injury-rehabilitation/.
- Heid, Markham. “Reasons Why All Athletes Should Do Pilates.” Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated, 22 Feb. 2017, www.si.com/edge/2017/02/22/health-benefits-of-pilates-athletes.
- Lieber, Jill. “Male Athletes Get No Pain, Big Gains from Pilates.” Turning Point Pilates, Turning Point Pilates, 1 Aug. 2013, www.turningpointpilates.com/blog/2013/8/1/male-athletes-get-no-pain-big-gains-from-pilates.
- McCullough, Andy. “Mets Pitcher Dillon Gee Embraces Pilates to Gain an Edge.” Nj.com, Advance Publications/The Star-Ledger, 1 Mar. 2012, www.nj.com/mets/2012/03/mets_pitcher_dillon_gee_embrac.html.
- Nicolas, Michel, et al. “Monitoring Stress and Recovery States: Structural and External Stages of the Short Version of the RESTQ Sport in Elite Swimmers before Championships.” Journal of Sport and Health Science, Elsevier, 10 May 2016, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254616300175.
- Rincke, Eva. “Advice from Mary Pilates as She Learned from Her Uncle Joe!” Pilates Intel, 2017, www.pilatesintel.com/jppov2/.
- Walters BK, Read CR, Estes AR. The effects of resistance training, overtraining, and early specialization on youth athlete injury and development. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2018;58(9):1339-1348. doi:10.23736/S0022-4707.17.07409-6