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9 Common Sports Injuries Urgent Care Can Treat

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Reviewed by: Amy Surdam, FNP, LTC

Sports are great ways to stay active, enjoy time outside and socialize with others. At some point, you or your child may run into some type of injury, whether it’s a mild sprain or something more serious. In those cases, it’s important to know where to go to get the best treatment. 

At urgent care centers, medical professionals can diagnose and treat many issues so you can have confidence going forward. Below, we’ll take a look at some common ailments that athletes often deal with that urgent care can treat. 

1. Ankle Sprains

One of the most common injuries in sports is an ankle sprain — these are extremely common because they are relevant to nearly all sports. Ankle sprains are usually caused by awkward falls, uneven surfaces, frequent pivoting or someone stepping on the ankle. Ankle sprains may be more prevalent in contact sports, as it’s more likely people will be accidentally tripped or stepped on. 

If you’re exhibiting any of the signs of a sprained ankle, such as pain of the ankle, tenderness, restricted range of motion, instability, swelling and bruising, it could be time to take the sports injury to urgent care for a diagnosis. Ankle sprains are common, after all, and can usually be treated with help from a medical professional, but it’s important to be sure that it isn’t anything more serious, such as a broken bone. These professionals can give you a more thorough analysis and differentiate between conditions such as muscle strain versus muscle soreness.  

2. Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is caused by repetitive motion that creates a weakness in the tendons connecting your forearm muscles to your bones. As the name implies, it’s a common injury among tennis players who are constantly swinging their arms back and forth to volley the ball. Still, it can be caused by a myriad of other sports — any motion that is hard on the elbow could lead to tennis elbow. 

If you’re suffering from tennis elbow, it will likely be difficult to move your arm, and you may experience pain in the affected area along with redness and swelling. 

3. Plantar Fasciitis

Another common sports injury deals with the foot and is known as plantar fasciitis. This injury is characterized by stabbing pains in the foot usually after someone first gets out of bed in the morning or after standing up after sitting for a long period. 

This injury affects the plantar fascia tissue that runs from your toes to your heel bone. Its function is to support the arch of your foot and absorb shock when you’re walking and running. Repeated tension on the plantar facia can result in this sports injury — be sure to visit an urgent care to get it checked out. Urgent care providers may suggest pain medication or other treatment options.

4. Runner’s Knee

Generally, runner’s knee is characterized by any sort of pain around the kneecap. Like tennis elbow, it got its name from the common injury runners would encounter after frequent workouts. Still, runner’s knee can be caused by any sort of repetitive motion, making it a common occurrence in many sports. 

Repeated stress on the knee joint, whether through running, jumping, biking, kicking or cycling can cause the injury. Patients will often feel pain in the knee when engaging in athletic activities. There may also be swelling and a popping sensation. This injury is very common and can be treated effectively with the right diagnosis. 

5. Shin Splints

If you’re involved in cross-country running or track, you may experience shin splints at some point. Shin splints are characterized by pain in the shin bone known as the tibia — frequent stress on the shin and muscles can cause tenderness and even swelling. 

Those that are new to distance running may be more liable to shin splints. It’s also common after exercise suddenly becomes more intense and frequent. Running on uneven terrain such as hills or hard surfaces like concrete can also be a potential cause. Shin splints are another common sports injury that can be easily diagnosed in urgent care. 

6. Groin Pulls

Groin pulls can be uncomfortable and very painful, leaving athletes sidelined. Too much stress on the muscles in your groin and thigh can cause this common injury. Sudden jumping or change of direction can be the main source of a groin pull — those who play soccer and football are at high risk

Groin pulls can vary widely in severity:

  • At the lowest severity, athletes will feel mild pain but still have range of motion. 
  • A second-degree groin pull will have moderate strength loss and tissue damage.
  • The most severe type will involve a complete tear of the muscle, resulting in severe pain and loss of strength and function. 

Again, the various types of groin pulls can vary, so you should visit a sports medicine urgent care facility to have it checked out. 

7. Hamstring Strains

Sports that involve sudden starts and stops will likely produce hamstring strains in athletes. These occur when you strain or pull one of your hamstring muscles, resulting in pain, swelling, tenderness and even bruising on the back of the thigh. This is another one of the most common sports injuries that can be checked by an urgent care professional. A health care provider may recommend rest, compression and an anti-inflammatory pain killer.

8. Concussions

Though they’ve had a lot of publicity in sports like football, concussions can happen in nearly all sports where there’s physical contact — sports such as soccer can also cause these head injuries. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth. 

Concussions are usually mild but may have lasting effects if not treated properly — it’s essential to visit an urgent care clinic if you think you or your child is showing concussion symptoms. Be on the lookout for nausea or vomiting, balance problems, confusion or personality changes — these could be signs of a concussion

9. Physicals

Urgent care clinics also do physicals for sports — though this isn’t necessarily an injury, physicals can help identify issues early and make sure your child is ready to play. An urgent care sports physical is the quick, effective way to gain confidence moving forward with sports. 

Visit BestMed for Common Sports Injuries 

BestMed treats sports injuries so you can be confident your child can go back to sports when they’re ready. At BestMed, we strive to give the best care possible to our patients. 

As the summer sports season kicks off, BestMed is running an urgent care summer special from July 1 to August 31 for $25 sports physicals for youth athletes. Come visit us, and we’ll make sure your child is ready and healthy for the new season. Contact us today!