Let the Sunshine In
Tempe, Arizona, is known for sunny days and blue skies — the temperature rarely dips below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. With weather like that, who could stand to stay indoors?
Athlete, Dare Greatly
Very few people, as it turns out. Tempe boasts an athletic culture; it is home an annual Ironman competition, and also offers hikers, climbers and mountain bikers miles of trails in the beautiful Papago and South Mountain State Parks.
Know Your Injuries
Unfortunately, while breaking a sweat, athletes can also break bones and pull, tear, rip, or strain various other parts of the body. Sports injuries are quite common; the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that in 2012, emergency departments treated almost 2 million sports-related injuries.
These injuries vary widely. Many committed athletes experience overuse injuries, which occur as small strains or breaks in muscles, tendons, or ligaments build up over time. These injuries are chronic; people often don’t notice them until they become painful enough to interrupt their athletic activity. Then there are acute injuries, which occur as the result of a sudden force. It’s difficult not to notice acute injuries, and they usually drive people to see a doctor immediately.
If you’re in pain and you think you have one of the following common sports injuries, come on in to one of FastMed Urgent Care’s four Tempe locations for a quick diagnosis and caring treatment.
Runners often experiences shin splints, a repetitive stress injury to the lower leg that develops over time. Small tears in the shin muscles build up and result in persistent pain down the front of the leg, especially on impact. Athletes tend to underestimate shin splints, or decide to ‘power through’ them. If you’re experiencing shin pain, don’t avoid the issue! Shin splints can become severe enough to bench a runner if left untreated. Get to a doctor so you can find out how serious your shin splints have become, and what to do about them.
Sprains occur when the ligaments — the tissues that attach bones to each other — are damaged. In less serious sprains, ligaments are overly stretched or slightly torn; in very serious sprains, they are completely ripped, and may require aggressive treatment. It’s possible to sprain any joint, but ankle sprains are by far the most common. Runners can sprain ankles if they land incorrectly and twist a foot; climbers or bikers can fall and twist an ankle on impact. If your ankle is painful to the touch, swollen, and won’t bear weight, it’s possible that you’ve sprained it.
Strains occur at the attachments of muscles and tendons, the fibrous tissues that attach muscle to bone. Strains can be chronic if the tendons are overstretched or sustain small tears from prolonged, repetitive movement. They can also be acute, caused by a direct impact to or sudden overstretching of a muscle. Some people consider strains less serious athletic injuries than sprains, but that’s not necessarily true; very severe strains can require surgical intervention. If you notice chronic muscle pain and weakness or bruising that follows the length of a muscle, you may have a strain, and you should seek treatment.
Bone bruises usually occur from forceful impact. Many athletes consider them mild injuries, but they should be taken seriously; they are really very small bone fractures in which only a part of the cortex, or outer layer, of the bone has destabilized. Bone bruises weaken the bone, leaving it more susceptible to full fracture.
A break, also called a fracture, to a bone is a serious injury. It requires immediate medical treatment. You’ll probably know if you’ve broken a bone; it’s extremely painful. Bone breaks occur to climbers who sustain falls or swing against a rock face, bikers who take a tumble, or anyone else who experiences sudden impact to a bone. Bone breaks can be:
- Stable — the ends of the broken bone are not displaced.
- Torsion — the bone is broken in a spiral pattern.
- Compound — the ends of the bone are severely displaced, and may puncture the skin.
- Comminuted — the bone shatters into three or more pieces.
When you’re committed to a sport, you’re more likely to get hurt than your average Joe Couchpotato. That’s why FastMed is here: to treat your pain and help you get up and active again as soon as possible.
FastMed Urgent Care owns and operates nearly 200 centers in North Carolina, Arizona and Texas that provide a broad range of acute/episodic and preventive healthcare services 365 days a year. FastMed also provides workers’ compensation and other occupational health services at all its centers, and family and sports medicine services at select locations. FastMed has successfully treated more than six million patients and is the only independent urgent care operator in North Carolina, Arizona and Texas to be awarded The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for quality, safety and infection control in ambulatory healthcare. For more information about locations, services, hours of operation, insurance and prices, visit www.fastmed.com.