Wrestling injury prevention. Common wrestling aches and pains
Wrestling is one of the most demanding contact sports, very popular in high school, college, and the Olympics. It can be practiced by both men and women of various body shapes and sizes, as long as one follows the rules.
Unlike some popular wrestling video games, practicing this sport in real life will most likely get you injured. Here are some of the most common injuries you can develop while fighting and how to prevent or treat them.
Knee sprains and tears
Most wrestlers tend to bend their bodies into abnormal positions to catch a better grip and put down their opponents. Combined with the pressure of your body weight and your opponent’s, this could easily lead to ligament sprains and tears. These severe injuries can even end up an athlete’s career, so you should treat them seriously.
Apart from wearing proper protective wrestling gear, you should also work on your body muscles as much as possible to improve your flexibility and prevent specific injuries. We suggest opting for strength-training exercises to improve your health condition and the durability of your ligaments.
Specialists also recommend stretching sessions before and after your wrestling training. A few minutes of stretching before each practice will reduce the pressure put on your muscles and increase their endurance.
Since wrestling is a contact sport, you should expect using your hands a lot for grips, twists, and kicks. Therefore, dislocated shoulders are quite common in the industry. Although this kind of injury cannot be 100% prevented, it is essential you start working on your flexibility, strength, and endurance.
We suggest talking to a personal trainer and a professional wrestler to guide you through some of the beneficial exercises you can work on. As we previously mentioned, weightlifting and stretching are highly recommended in this case as they can help lower the risk of shoulder dislocations.
Most importantly, you don’t need a gym or expensive attires to stretch. On the contrary, you can do it in the comfort of your own home, with or without a mat. Just make sure you work on each muscle group to prevent soreness and swelling later on. Around 10 minutes of stretching your arms and legs daily should help you build up your endurance and keep you flexible.
Concussions and head injuries
Although kicks to the head are strictly prohibited in most types of wrestling, nobody can shelter you from accidental kicks or falls on the ground. Therefore, wearing protective wrestling headgear is mandatory in almost all kinds of contact sports, including wrestling. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you are fully protected against head injuries and concussions.
The most common symptoms of concussions include dizziness, fatigue, headaches, blurred vision, confusion, blacking out, and lack of coherence in speech.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should consult a doctor right away. Head hits are extremely dangerous because they can cause internal bleeding and brain damage.
Diagnosing a concussion implies running CAT scans and MRIs to determine if there are any tissue lesions. If there are no internal lesions, the doctor can stitch you and prescribe mild analgesics to help you get rid of the pains, as well as mild anti-inflammatories like aspirin or ibuprofen.
Prepatellar bursitis represents the inflammation of the sack located in front of the kneecap. This is a quite common injury for wrestlers as the kneecap area is often pressed into the mat, causing pain and swelling. Unfortunately, in time, this condition could lead to more complicated knee problems that could require surgery or collagen and hyaluronic acid injections.
You can treat prepatellar bursitis with anti-inflammatory meds like aspirin and ibuprofen, as well as with ice packs and rest. Knee pads are a must to prevent future injuries and keep all your ligaments in one place.
Since wrestling is all about that “skin on skin” romance, it comes as no surprise that skin infections are amongst the most spread injuries in this sport. Impetigo, herpes, and ringworm represent some of the common skin infections in wrestling, but this doesn’t mean you are not exposed to other bacteria and fungi.
Therefore, personal hygiene is crucial. Take showers before and after workouts and always wear clean clothes. Sweat can also cause skin irritation and redness.
Make sure the mats are sanitized and properly cleaned with antiseptic solutions after each use, to prevent spreading bacteria and fungi. You should also use hand sanitizers before and after each fight and, if possible, wear full-length clothes to minimize skin-on-skin contact with your opponents.
If you do develop an infection, have it checked by a doctor right away. He or she might prescribe you antibiotics and local creams with antiseptic and antibacterial properties to promote healing and prevent further infections. Also, if you are treated for a skin infection, you shouldn’t be attending any wrestling competitions or training sessions.
Another part of your body that can easily suffer from injuries when wrestling is the neck. The cervical vertebrae are forced into unnatural positions, which may cause various neck injuries, from strains to cervical fractures.
Again, increasing your flexibility and working on your muscle strength is one of the only ways in which you can diminish the risk of getting this type of neck injuries. You should carefully stretch your neck muscles before each practice and avoid uncomfortable or dangerous grips.
Consult a doctor the minute you feel something is wrong with your neck or you’re starting to hurt. Neck injuries can be extremely dangerous and can even lead to paralysis. Your doctor is the only one that can tell how bad your injury is and how to recover from it as soon as possible.