But it can also mean injuries -- from overuse, exercising or sports, or just daily activities, especially as you age. While it’s true that most sports injuries are more common in women than in men, men are still at risk—and overuse and aging injuries can happen to anyone.
The list of possible injuries is extensive, but there are a handful of injuries that are more common than others in men. Often these injuries can be avoided with certain precautions, but if they do occur, there are also methods of rehabilitation. Some of the more prevalent injuries include:
Plantar fasciitis – This is usually the painful byproduct of repeated stress on the feet, generally caused by a lot of running. The tendon in the arch of the foot becomes strained, causing pain with every step. Try to avoid this injury by wearing shoes that have enough support for your foot, and changing shoes as recommended based on your mileage or use. Rehabilitation for plantar fasciitis can take a long time, and includes rest, a lot of stretching, and sometimes wearing a splint.
Ankle sprain – An all too familiar injury, ankle sprains—injuries to the ligaments of the ankle—are a little harder to avoid since they usually happen when you unexpectedly land wrong playing sports or just roll your ankle stepping off of something. Properly stretching the ankles before and after exercising is a good way to help avoid a sprain, and there are also various exercises that can be done to strengthen the muscles of the ankle and surrounding areas.
ACL or MCL injury – Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) are two of the four major ligaments of the knee, and they are prone to strains and even tears. MCL and ACL injuries generally happen during sports or fitness activities and can be caused by a number of things, such as suddenly changing direction or landing incorrectly. MCL injuries generally don’t require surgery and heal relatively quickly with rest. Surgery is usually needed for an ACL injury, and it can take several months to heal and rehabilitate the muscles around it. Prevent knee injuries by warming-up before exercise or sports, strengthening the muscles of the knee and legs, and maintaining a healthy weight.
Low back pain – Back pain is one of the most prevalent conditions and low back pain is the leading cause of disability. The causes for low back pain are numerous—and can include anything from sports injuries, accidents, arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and even psychological stress. Preventing back pain can depend on the cause, but as a general rule—maintaining a healthy weight, staying active, stretching, and minding your posture can help. Anti-inflammatories can help manage temporary back pain, but if you have persistent or reoccurring pain, talk to your doctor.
Hip bursitis – This is a common condition due to aging, but can also happen in younger, active people due to overuse. Repetitive activities such as cycling and running can exacerbate hip bursitis, which is pain over the outside of the upper thigh due to inflammation. Bursitis can’t always be prevented if you participate in repetitive fitness, but preventing the inflammation from getting worse is important. Rest, maintaining a healthy weight, maintaining strength and flexibility of the hip muscles will help in the rehabilitation.
If you’re interested in learning more about sports medicine, orthopedics, and many other men’s health topics, join us for our annual Men’s Health Fair on Saturday, June 17, 2017. You’ll have the opportunity to visit with a variety of experts, and one of the event highlights is a health lecture—Sports 101: Exercise and your health—presented by Dr. Jothi Murali. If you sustain an injury or have an orthopedic issue, El Camino Hospital has an extensive men's health program. Find a doctor here.
This article first appeared in the HealthPerks June 2017 newsletter and the Winter 2016 issue of Chinese Health Initiative Wellness eNewsletter. Learn more about the Chinese Health Initiative.