The Most Common Sports Injuries In Malaysia
Malaysians love sports just as much as we love our foods. Badminton, running, futsal, and cycling are all common pastimes. However, are familiar you with the injury risks of staying active?
A study reported on by the New Straits Time showed that 51% of exercisers from a younger age group suffer some sort of injury; with the risk of getting injured increasing as they age. For the majority, these conditions are not severe, being mainly obtained through overuse of a limb. Notably, most of these injuries occur at lower extremities.
The thing about a sports injury is it is impossible to avoid it, no matter how careful you are being. That said, it doesn’t mean you can’t take precautionary steps to minimise the damage. Which is why knowing the most common sports injuries that occur to average Malaysians is extremely important.
Sports that require sudden bursts of speed, power, and agility – like in football – result in a high risk of hamstring strains. In this case, you’ve overstretched the tendons on the back of your thigh or caused damage to the muscle. This isn’t life threatening, but it can be immensely painful.
A hamstring injury is classified according to how much damage has been done. It could be as mild as a hamstring strain (which heals itself after a few days of rest) or it could be a complete muscle tear (taking months to recover).
The occurrence of ankle sprains is extremely common, even if you’re not doing any sports. It happens when you overextend and damage the ligaments in your ankle. These ligaments are what hold are the connective tissue that hold the bones of your joint together, and damaging them could have long term consequences.
A mild sprain will go away after a few days of bed rest, but a bad sprain could end up weakening the ligaments. This eventually leads to an increased chance of spraining your ankle again, chronic pain, and even stability problems.
An adequate warm-up regimes like proprioceptive and balance training can reduce the chance of ankle sprains.
Runner’s knee, also known as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) is common among runners (hence the name). The pressure of running can cause irritation where the kneecap (patella) lies on the thigh bone. You know you have a runner’s knee when your over-exercise regime leads to irritation of the tendon below the kneecap or when the region underneath the kneecap is worn or afflicted with arthritis.
As a result tenderness and pain usually occurs near the front of the kneecap. This injury does not only affect runners but also cyclists, swimmers, people who practice aerobics, footballers, basketballers, and volleyball players.
Knees are also vulnerable to the tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament or ACL. Those that follow sports will have come across the ACL tear explanation for why athletes miss games. In this case, the ligaments holding the knee together have been damaged; making it very difficult to walk.
ACL tears cannot heal naturally and require surgery to be repaired.
Arch Pain (Plantar Fasciitis)
The elastic covering the sole of the foot is the plantar fascia which covers the foot and holds up the arch. When this shock-absorbing pad becomes inflamed, it causes a dull ache along the length of the arch and heel.
The ache is due to overstretching or partial tearing of the arch pad. This happens to people with rigid, high arches; resulting in pain when they put weight on their foot or walk. Pain is particularly intense upon standing up after sitting for a long while.
Plantar fasciitis is common among middle-aged people who have been inactive and who suddenly increase their level of physical activity. Runners are most vulnerable but almost any sport that keeps the athlete standing can cause arch pain.
The shoulder bones are held together by a group of muscles known as the rotator cuff muscles. When the shoulder joint is continually moved with the arm in an overhead position, as it is in tennis or lifting weights, the small rotator cuff muscles begin to stretch out. This loosens the head of the joint within the shoulder socket over time.
If your shoulder has a shallow socket and lack of ligament strength, it is easy for the head of the shoulder to slide around in the joint. Tennis players and golfers are the most likely to suffer from this problem, but it could happen to anyone doing physical activity.
Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)
Tennis elbow is often caused by over-exercise. When the muscles and tendons in your forearm are strained due to a repetitive activity; it could also occur after taking a hard bump to your arm. This is a condition that causes pain around the outside of the elbow.
Things are pretty serious when you get a fracture, also usually referred to a broken bone. Fractures are common sports injury caused by one-time injury to the bone which is an acute fracture. Repeated stress – mostly from repetitive impact like running or jumping – on a bone over time can also cause a stress fracture.
Most are classified as an emergency and acute fractures may require surgery to completely repair.
Injuries weigh more than you think
We all should know to warm up ourselves before any exercise to avoid these injuries. Yet, if the things were to go sideways, you will be surprised at how much it can cost you. Treating sports injuries may be not enough with just a one-time visitation to the doctor or just resting at home. It could require physiotherapy, surgery, proliferation therapy over a span of time, depending on each individual’s recovery progress.
While the government regulates the maximum price that a hospital can charge for treatment, it still translates into thousands of Ringgit. For example, a reconstruction surgery of the acromioclavicular joint on your shoulder alone can cost at least RM2705 in a private hospital – not including fees for hospitalisation and medication.
Hence, taking a precautionary step does not only mean for your body, but for your finances as well by taking upon an affordable insurance plan that suits your need. Most insurance plans will cover exercise and sports related injuries, taking some pressure off you if the unthinkable happens. Even if it’s just a short visit to the doctor for a sprained ankle.