Injuries Affecting Extremities: Treatment and Prevention
Limb injuries not only physically hurt, but they can also induce lethargy and even affect your mental state. Luckily, several studies have proven that there are several natural ways you can treat extremity injuries by yourself. Even if it doesn't heal, you don't need to worry, as most medical professionals are plenty capable of handling and treating these types of injuries.
That said, here are the most common injuries that affect your extremities or limbs—and different prevention methods, treatment, and when to see a doctor.
Ankles are the most frequently injured joints. In fact, ankle sprains make up 15% to 30% of all sports injuries, based on a Journal of Sports Science and Medicine study. This injury happens when the ankle gets twisted or rolled inward or outward, tearing the ligaments that connect the three distinct bones forming the ankle. Running on bumpy and uneven pathways and rashly playing sports requiring jumping or quick changes in direction can often cause sprained ankles.
A sprained ankle can take anywhere between 8 to 12 weeks to recover fully. Moreover, a previous sprain can put a person more at risk for another similar injury and osteoarthritis in the future. The best way you can prevent sprained ankles is by regularly training your reflexes—significantly decreasing your injury rate.
You can do this by standing on one foot for both sides for 30 seconds while idly doing something else to keep you distracted, such as brushing your teeth. Doing this can improve balance and coordination. Additionally, using custom orthotic shoes, braces, and taping can also help prevent you from getting a sprained ankle.
Rotator Cuff Strain
Many shoulder issues originate from the nerve branch of your spinal cord and exit through the neck. Shoulder pain radiating down your arm usually comes alongside weakness, numbing, and tingling on your wrists and hands. Although throwing fastballs when playing baseball is the standard way to get a pinched nerve in these areas, there are several ways you can aggravate the four muscles holding your shoulders in their socket. These include excess swimming, too many pull-ups, tennis, gardening, and heavy labor.
Additionally, the potential for developing rotator cuff strains increases with age as a person's shoulder tendons naturally degenerate. Fortunately, it's preventable. One of the best ways to avoid getting a rotator cuff strain is by building up your strength and making it sport-specific for the most optimal results. Focus on a strengthening regimen with a higher amount of repetitions using lighter weights and exercise bands.
The classic tennis or golfer's elbow or lateral epicondylitis is a repetitive strain injury affecting a person's dominant arm. It's a painful weakening of the tendons joining your forearms muscles to the bones. One can develop this injury when working your elbow too much and repeating certain motions. However, despite their name, tennis and golfing only cause 5% of cases. It's most commonly seen among carpenters, mechanics, cashiers, and office workers.
Luckily, tennis elbow usually only requires minor treatment, but it takes a long time to heal. You can minimize your risks of developing tennis elbow and arm pain by doing several things. These include keeping your arms and wrists robust and flexible by building strength using light weights and avoiding making any repetitive movements. Plus, if you regularly play tennis, golf, cricket, or badminton, have an expert check your items to make sure it's the right for you.
Hip Flexor Strain
The pelvic girdle consisting of your hips and sacrum is the foundation of your spine. These joints may affect the nerves exiting your spinal column, resulting in debilitating hip pain. Many hip problems result from malfunctioning joints above or below the pelvis—and one of the most common injuries involving your hips is the hip flexor.
A hip flexor is a group of muscles assisting with the upward movement of your legs and knees. Injuries may happen from having weak muscles, rashly beginning a strenuous workout session without warming up, stiff muscles, and falling from a great height. Athletes that often face hip flexor issues often include sudden upward movements or fast changes in directions, including football or soccer. When you develop a hip flexor strain, expect severe pain, spasms, bruising, and inflammation on the area where your hip meets your legs.
You can avoid getting hip flexor strains by doing specific hip-strengthening exercises. However, if the pain doesn't go away in a week or two, you should see a medical professional as you may have a torn hip flexor.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
The temporomandibular joint or TMJ serves as a 'sliding hinge' connecting your jaw to the skull. TMJ disorders, a type of temporomandibular disorder (TMD), may cause debilitating pain in the jaw joints and muscles. This medical condition often happens when something goes wrong with your jawbone joints and muscles, usually resulting from a jaw injury, inflammation like arthritis, and overuse.
Although the exact cause of TMD is often challenging to determine, excess stress, teeth grinding (bruxism), and severe spinal issues are some causes of the medical condition. But the pain can also be coming from a combination of genetics, arthritis, and jaw trauma. Fortunately, in most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMD are temporary, and you can soothe the pain with self-managed care and natural treatments.
You can prevent developing TMD by avoiding overusing your jaw joints and muscles by minimizing your hard food intake and go for softer variations. Physicians, dentists, and chiropractors may also show you how to do corrective and preventive exercises that stretch and strengthen your jaw muscles and joints. Plus, correctly massaging your jaw muscles can go a long way.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Swelling off your tendons around your wrist can drastically reduce the space in its tunnel or a passage in your wrist that usually ends in your hand, squeezing the median nerve. This nerve controls the whole movement of your fingers and thumb, except the pinky. Excess pressure on this particular nerve can injure your wrist entirely. This injury typically results in sensations ranging from numbness, tingling, pain, and hand function loss, more commonly known as carpal tunnel syndrome. People
In most cases, the underlying cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is a misalignment of one or more joints on your neck, shoulders, elbows, and wrists. You can prevent getting carpal tunnel syndrome by consistently keeping your wrists straight, using splints or braces to keep your wrists in a neutral position, and keeping your hands warm.
Although common extremity injuries may have different preventions and causes, treatment for each one is virtually the same. You can use the classic first aid trick, the 'PRICE' method, to treat any common limb injury—helping you get back to your optimal condition sooner.
Keep in mind that swelling is a natural response to limb injuries, and it can reduce your range of motion and affect the overall healing process. You can limit the swelling and accelerate your healing process by doing the following:
- P - Protect your limbs from further injuries using splints, pads, or crutches. Do this on the affected limbs.
- R - Restrict strenuous activities, especially on the injured limbs. Doing this helps prevent the injury from getting worse.
- I - Applying ice immediately after attaining an extremity injury can significantly reduce its inflammation without any severe side effects.
- C - Applying compression on the affected areas using an elastic bandage can help the ice further reduce the swelling.
- E - Elevate the affected extremities above your heart can reduce the inflammation as well.
Additionally, taking over-the-counter pain relievers can mitigate the pain. However, if it doesn't, it's time to see a medical professional.
When to Get Medical Attention
Although most extremity injuries are 'treatable,' there will be times that you need to be smart and seek medical attention—fast. If you're experiencing any of the following signs, contact a medical professional immediately.
- If you have any deformities in your joint or bones
- It's not healing despite treating it at home
- If you experience any excessive swelling in any of your limbs
- An area of your skin suddenly changes color beyond mild bruising
- If you're experiencing dizziness and vertigo
If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned, seek a healthcare professional immediately, whether an orthopedist or chiropractor. The latter can help by providing adjustments to your spine and other joints of your body, successfully treating any limb injuries, and improving your overall range of motion.
If you're looking for a capable healthcare professional, Dr. Zachary Langgle can help you out. He's a specialist chiropractor who has been treating patients for years through all-natural approaches, treating conditions resulting from limb injuries, like the ones mentioned. He can also help with neck pain, headaches, work injuries, and more.
Dr. Langgle is a firm believer in holistic healthcare and is one of the most talented in the field, treating patients with various chiropractic approaches, ranging from extremity adjusting to biophysics—promoting better health and well-being naturally.
Book an appointment with Dr. Langgle today and achieve an active, healthy, and injury-lifestyle long-term.