Tug of WarWith The World Games 2022 just around the corner, UAB Sports and Exercise Medicine is gearing up to support several events, like outdoor tug of war, as the official medical provider.

In The World Games outdoor tug of war, two teams of eight– in a test of strength–pull on opposite ends of a rope. The goal is to bring the rope a certain distance in one direction against the force of the opposing team’s pull.

As medical providers, UAB Sports and Exercise Medicine will provide sideline support of each talented athlete that takes the field or playing arena. As trained experts, providers will keep an eye out for common injuries in the game.

Chief of the UAB Section of Sports Medicine Amit Momaya, M.D., shares three common tug of war injuries that are also frequent to other elite and every-day athletes. Whether the injury happened gardening, jogging, or exercising, UAB Sports and Exercise Medicine is here to treat you.

1) Back sprain

A back sprain is usually due to a strained lumbar muscle. It can be prevented through proper core and trunk stability, flexibility and strengthening of the back muscles, warming up, and proper form. Generally, the treatment for back sprains are anti-inflammatories, active rest (not bed bound but rather gentle stretching and mobility), use of a TENS unit, and formal physical therapy.

2) Knee injuries

A knee injury often comes in the form of a soft tissue tear/sprain (MCL or meniscus). Knee injury prevention can look like proper core and trunk stability, stretching, and proper form. Most MCL sprains can be treated non-operatively with bracing, anti-inflammatories, and physical therapy to regain motion and strength. However, meniscus tears usually do not heal by themselves and can sometimes require surgery to address them.

3) Elbow injury

In tug of war, an elbow injury may present itself as a biceps tendon tear. The prevention for elbow injuries can look like proper warming up, ramping up of lifting, and avoiding eccentric-only exercises. A complete tear may benefit from a surgical repair to restore strength of elbow flexion and supination (palm up motion); incomplete tears or tears in lower-demand patients may benefit from non-operative treatment.

While we hope we don’t have to see you for an injury, UAB is here to help when it happens. UAB Medicine has urgent care options for immediate issues and UAB Sports and Exercise Medicine is available at (205) 930-8339 during normal business hours for an appointment