The Rio Olympic Games might be a distant memory for sports fans, but for researchers the data it provided has been analysed and valuable conclusions have been drawn that could help prevent sport injury rates in the future. The most recent research to be released has revealed that athletes at Rio were most likely to suffer from shoulder tendon injuries.
Female track and field athletes were particularly found to have the highest risk compared to other events.
The results, published within the British Journal of Sports Medicine in two different studies, have been the first to include epidemiological data on tendon abnormalities.
All sports injuries from the Rio Olympics were recorded
The study was conducted by researchers in New York, Norway, Brazil, Pennsylvania, France, Germany and Switzerland. All sports injuries reported by athletes taking part in the Rio Olympics in 2016 were recorded and analysed.
In total, the researchers studied 156 tendon abnormality injuries and 25 bone stress injuries. There were 11,000 athletes who took part in the games, representing 200 different countries.
It was discovered that while bone stress related injuries occurred more frequently within the lower extremities of the body, tendon abnormalities were largely found in the shoulder. Imaging was carried out on the injured athletes within the Olympic Village, before being reviewed by two different board certified musculoskeletal radiologists.
A common injury which can jeopardise an athlete’s career
Tendon injuries are common, but they can have a devastating impact on an athlete’s career. Typically, this is because the injury isn’t treated quickly enough. Like any shoulder injury, the longer an athlete leaves it before seeking treatment, the worse it will become.
Failure to detect and treat tendon injuries will prevent the athlete from not only competing, but training too. If surgery is required, it could put them out of action for months, if not a year. However, despite the risks, a substantial number of Olympic athletes continue to train and compete when already suffering from injuries.
It has even been reported that up to 95% of athlete’s who competed in the earlier London Olympic Games in 2012, were injured. As an athlete, competing at the Olympic Games is a dream come true and the culmination of many years of hard work, so it’s unsurprising so many risk further injury by competing with an existing injury.
The study therefore highlights the importance of seeking early treatment, and why imaging could be the best preventative measure.
Further studies required to understand shoulder injury mechanisms
Although the research has proven useful in terms of identifying potential preventative measures, further research is required to understand the mechanisms of tendon related injuries. This will in turn help coaches and specialists create a discipline specific and robust preventative strategy.
For now, the research has shown just how beneficial imaging screening data could be for athletes during the pre-competition stage. It would help to detect chronic legions and act as a preventative measure to ensure any tendon damage is identified and treated early.
While no athlete wants to be out of action, any shoulder pain should be looked into as early as possible. The earlier the problem is detected, the easier it will be to treat and the less damage it will do to your career. If you are concerned you may have a shoulder tendon related injury, book a consultation with a shoulder specialist today by calling us on 0203 195 2442.