Common Track and Field Injuries: An Overview

Common injuries in track and fieldTrack and field covers a wide range of sports activities that challenge all parts of the body. From running races to throwing heavy objects to making big jumps, track and field athletes put a lot of strain on their bodies, particularly their joints! As a result, some injuries are especially common with these athletes. Knowing common track and field injuries can help you seek the care you need when a problem arises.

Typical Stressors from Track and Field

Track and field encompasses many activities. This can include running events like sprints, longer races, relays, and hurdles; throwing events like shot put, discus, and javelin; and jumping events, like the long jump, triple jump, high jump, and pole vault. As you might imagine, all that throwing, running, and jumping can really strain your body. The repetitive motions from throwing, the hard landings from jumping, and the regular pounding from running take their toll. Sprains, muscle strains, and tendon tears are common. Overuse issues in the joints and muscles crop up frequently, too.

Most Common Track and Field Injuries

Common track and field injuries can affect both your lower limbs and your arms and upper body, depending on the events you participate in. Here are some of the more common conditions that affect these athletes:

  • Achilles tendon problems – From tendon degeneration and inflammation to complete ruptures, overuse and heavy stress from jumping and running can damage your Achilles.
  • ACL injuries – Knees suffer a lot of stress and damage from both running and jumping. Landing incorrectly or otherwise twisting the knee joint can strain or tear the ACL.
  • Shin splints – Overuse, particularly from running, can lead to this burning sensation in your shins whenever you’re active.
  • Hamstring strains – A fatigued or tight hamstring can be painful and cause all sorts of problems.
  • Runner’s knee – Strain on the knees from running and jumping can lead to pain under and around the kneecaps.
  • Tendonitis – You can develop painful tendon inflammation and degeneration from overuse anywhere you have a tendon, from your ankles, knees, and hips to your shoulders and elbows.
  • Plantar fasciitis – Hard pounding can damage the ligament on the sole of your foot and cause heel pain that makes it hard to run or jump.
  • Rotator cuff injuries – Repetitive throwing motions can damage your shoulder area and cause joint instability and pain.
  • Sprains – You can suddenly overstretch and damage ligaments in any of your joints, though the ankles and knees are often the most susceptible to the problem.
  • Bursitis – Overuse can cause inflammation in the bursa sacs meant to protect your joints, which makes using those joints very painful.

These are just some of the track and field injuries that face these athletes.

What to Do When You Get Injured

Pain when you are active is not normal and should not be ignored or dismissed. As soon as you feel pain, you should have the issue checked out. Experts like our teams at Podiatry Associates, P.C. and our physical therapy offices in Castle Pines and Cherry Creek in Denver can help you diagnose the condition and take care of it right away. The earlier the diagnosis, the easier treatment tends to be—and the less likely you’ll have complications.

Specific treatment varies with the injury. However, you can expect rest and careful physical therapy to maintain or improve your range of motion, flexibility, and general strength. You may need to ice the painful area or do other things to limit inflammation. Once you are cleared to return to your sports, you’ll have to recondition your limb to handle the stress of your events so you don’t immediately injure yourself again.

Track and field athletes are tough and put their bodies through a lot. Injuries can be all too common, but they don’t have to sideline you. If, or when, pain does arise, you can take care of it immediately and head off more serious damage down the road. Our team at Podiatry Associates, P.C., along with Castle Pines Physical Therapy and Cherry Creek Physical Therapy are here to help you keep your body at its best. Contact our offices in Castle Pines, Cherry Creek in Denver, and Parker, CO, today for more information or an appointment. You can reach us online or call (303) 805-5156.
Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen, DPM
Founder and Owner of Podiatry Associates, PC