Nine Aches and Pains You Shouldn’t Ignore
These nine annoyances could signal serious health problems.
6. Headache after a hit to the head
What it could mean: "Any significant headache after a fall or a hit in a sport needs evaluation at the sidelines and if there are any doubts, you should be removed from play," says Reznik. Loss of consciousness, even for a few seconds, changes in mental status, inability to answer simple questions, or amnesia are signs of a risk for significant injury on return to a game."
7. Knee pain
What it could mean: "If you have pain in your knee that causes swelling or significant bruising, this needs to be attended to," says Reznik. "Bleeding around the knee is the major cause of rapid swelling and can mean a significant ligament tear or a fracture in the joint. If this is associated with an inability to move the knee or bear weight, an examination (preferably by an orthopedic surgeon) and an X-ray are best."
8. Back of leg pain
What it could mean: "This is known as an Achilles tendon rupture," says Reznik. "Swelling and inability to push off or toe-walk are big tip-offs. Often a tennis player will go to the net and stop short and then feel like someone kicked them in the back of the ankle. Or a basketball player will swear someone stepped on the back of their leg.
9. Forearm or lower leg pain
What it could mean: A condition called compartment syndrome is the most deceptive injury of them all, says Reznik. "It is usually associated with an injury to the forearm or lower leg (it is very rare in the thigh) and it's most common finding is crescendo pain, or pain that seems out of proportion to the injury and continues to increase with time." When an injury occurs, blood flows into the area and swelling causes increasing pressure. Blood gets trapped in the "compartment" and circulation is eventually cut off by the high pressure. The muscle will lose its blood supply and can be lost permanently if the compartment is not surgically released in time.