With an increased focus on training young athletes, sports injuries such as hip flexor strains and hip bursitis have become far more common than in earlier years. While hip flexor strains are common among athletes engaged in running, swimming and gymnastics, they affect athletes who engage in any sports that requires bending or high kicks—martial arts, soccer and cycling. While dislocations and fractures are associated with specific sports accidents, flexor muscle injuries and trochanteric bursitis are far more common and interestingly, far more preventable.
Recently, 28-year-old Steven, a professional cyclist complained of regular discomfort on the right side of his hip, just above the right thigh. However, since this uncomfortable ache never seemed to translate into severe pain, he dismissed it as the fatigue that accompanied strenuous physical activity. Steven also medicated himself with mild painkillers that would alleviate the pain for a while. This cycle continued for several months until the pain became constant and progressively more severe until one day, he collapsed in pain after a race.
A sports physician’s diagnosis revealed a severe hip flexor strain and a Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) that threatened to cut his career short. Further investigation revealed that an improper warm-up routine and months of nonstop competition coupled with the neglect of the niggling ache through self-medication were the cause of his RSI. Fortunately for Steven, he still races today, a wiser athlete.
Today, sports medicine professionals are able to identify and treat these injuries far more effectively than they could a decade ago. A hip model that details the muscles, ligaments, tendons and bone structure enables sports physicians to identify and treat injuries similar to Steven’s flexor strain and more importantly, educate athletes about the body parts that come under the most strain. In the past, while bone models of the hip and knee joints were available, accurate hip models that detail the muscle and tendon structure were rare. A high quality model serves as a diagnostic and educational aid when dealing with minor and major injuries.
Education and Prevention
The average age of professional and competitive athletes is lower than it was 20 years ago. As a result, athletes’ bodies are exposed to the rigors of sports for longer periods of time. Fewer breaks between competitions increase the risk of repetitive injury that can cut an athlete’s career short. Many young athletes are uninformed or misinformed about the risk of injury and the common injuries associated with their sport. Preventive medicine and education goes a long way in helping an athlete understand his or her body’s mechanics and the need for a conditioning regimen that helps muscles and joints adapt to the rigors of a sporting season.
A hip model and other anatomical models are used by sports physicians, coaches, teachers, parents and athletes themselves as a visual aid, aiding diagnosis, treatment, education and prevention, saving athletes thousands of dollars in medical bills and the trauma of injury. Good training practices combined with a healthy diet and the knowledge of the risks associated with a sport can ensure a long, injury-free career.
David Collier is a former competitive athlete and sports writer who works with sports physicians (with the aid of a hip model) in administering programs that educate and counsel young athletes about the rigors of competitive sports at high school and collegiate levels.