Common Injuries for Active Military Members
Written by Dr. Navid Hannanvash PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS, CAFS, FAFS | CEO & OWNER
As the old saying goes, “the best ability is availability.” That goes for Super Bowl winning football players, high school athletes, moms and dads across the world, and our active military. Often times, active military members experience setbacks throughout their training that leave them unable to participate in daily activities, required duties, training, and drills due to pain.
While the issues and injuries faced by active military are complex, there are a few common injuries we consistently among this population sector. This has led our team to develop effective treatment plans to alleviate, and ultimate prevent, these types of injuries.
What Is It? Tendinitis in its simplest form means inflammation from a tendon. Often times it happens when a body part becomes overused or worn down. Two of the most common sites that tendinitis occurs in activity military are the front of the knee (known as patellar tendinitis) or the top of the shoulder (rotator cuff tendinitis).
How Do We Treat It? The treatment for both of these injuries involves a combination of offloading the tendon (sometimes requiring rest but more likely just figuring out what tissue didn’t “do its job” thus causing the extra strain on the injured part), anti-inflammatory treatments (such as ice or anti-inflammatory medications), gentle range of motion exercises, and strengthening exercises to improve the support around the surrounding structures.
Below we demonstrate a knee exercise and a shoulder exercise that can help offload the tendon by creating motion in surrounding structures. The key with these exercises is to complete them in a pain-free range of motion (the old adage of “no pain no gain” doesn’t apply to tendinitis. Rather, that approach can cause more damage and harm).
What Is It? Nobody likes to roll their ankle, and absolutely nobody likes to roll their ankle far enough to cause damage to the ligaments in the ankle. This can lead to symptoms such as: swelling, bruising, pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, and inability to bear weight.
How Do We Treat It? The most effective way to treat an ankle sprain is to reduce swelling IMMEDIATELY in order to protect the ankle from the influx of toxic chemicals that flood the area. Below is a simple exercise to help reduce swelling following an ankle sprain. It is completed using a bucket filled halfway with ice and water.
Low Back Pain
What Is It? While there are multiple structures in the low back area that can cause pain, it is highly understood in the medical community that unless someone takes a baseball bat and hits you in the back, it’s not your back’s fault that it’s in pain. Most often, it is the lack of range of motion in the surrounding structures that causes stress to pass to the low back.
How Do We Treat It? One common way to alleviate this stress is to complete a gentle round of hip mobility/flexibility exercises to offload the stress on the spine. Below are three pictures of gentle exercises that can be completed to relieve pain and maintain a healthy back.
While there are dozens of injuries types and variations, we hope this gives you more insight on a few of the common ones faced by active members of the military. The most effective way to treat these injuries and others like them is to contact our office and schedule an evaluation. We pride ourselves on our work with our active military members and strive to continue to give them the best ability in the world: availability.