Polo Injuries

 

 

 

Despite polo being one of the most expensive sports to participate in, it has increasingly gained in popularity since the 1980s. Polo is now played in almost 80 countries. However, there are only a handful of countries, including the United States, that support professional and collegiate polo athletes. Most news headlines focus on the injuries a horse encounters during polo play. However, polo players are also at a high risk of traumatic and overuse injuries.

How Do Polo Injuries Occur?

Polo is a sport that requires a delicate coordination between the riders, horses, and swinging mallets. Such elements place polo players at risk of traumatic injuries from falling and/or being hit by the ball, struck by a swinging mallet, or colliding with another player. Stabilizing oneself atop the horse during sudden stops-and-starts from galloping, sudden changes in direction, and twisting and leaning down to swing the mallet places a great deal of stress on soft tissues like muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

What Are Some Common Polo Injuries?

Groin Strain

A groin strain involves the adductor magnus, minimus, brevis, and longus; gracilis; and pectineus muscles and their associated tendons. This muscle group is collectively referred to as the adductors. They are the connection between the inner thigh and pelvis and are what powers leg movements toward the body’s midline. Each time a rider grips his/her saddle or flexes their leg to rise up and down in the saddle, the adductors are being used. Therefore, the adductors are particularly prone to injuries from the repetitive stress of polo play, especially if any existing muscle fatigue, weakness, or imbalances already exist. The repetitive stress causes the adductors to become abnormally stretched or torn.

Groin strains, like all strains, are graded based on the degree of stretching or tearing the adductor muscles and/or tendons suffer:

Grade I - mild stretching or microscopic tearing of fibers. Leg function generally isn’t affected.

Grade II - moderate tearing of the muscle-tendon fibers. The groin may be moderately swollen, painful, and tender. The groin may feel tight and weak. Pain may be more intense during riding, walking, or running activities.

Grade III - more than 90% of the muscle-tendon fibers are torn. This can cause significant pain, swelling, and pain. It may be possible to feel a gap or lump in the affected groin muscle. It may be impossible to squeeze the legs together. Even activities like walking may be extremely painful.

Shoulder Tendinitis, Bursitis, And Impingement Syndrome

The shoulder is comprised of three bones - the humerus (upper arm bone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and clavicle (collarbone). The glenohumeral joint, or shoulder joint, is the ball and socket joint of the shoulder. This is the articulation point for the glenoid fossa of the scapula and the head of the humerus. The rotator cuff muscles and tendons (teres minor, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and supraspinatus) cover the joint and are what actually keeps the head of the humerus inside the glenoid fossa. The subacromial bursa sac lies between the rotator cuff and the top of the shoulder. This lubricating sac allows the rotator cuff tendons to glide freely as the rotator cuff muscles pull them to produce an arm movement.

Shoulder bursitis, tendinitis, and impingement are all closely related and can occur alone or together.

Shoulder bursitis is when the subacromial bursa becomes irritated and inflamed. Shoulder tendinitis is when the rotator cuff tendons become irritated and inflamed. In either case, a mild direct hit to the shoulder or repetitive shoulder movements, such as from raising the arm to swing a polo mallet, can irritate the tendons and bursa and cause them to become swollen.


As the swelling continues, the space between the acromion and humeral head becomes more narrow and can squeeze and impinge the rotator cuff. If this occurs, the injury is called rotator cuff impingement syndrome. Although these three shoulder conditions often correlate with each other, it should be noted that other shoulder injuries that cause shoulder swelling, such as strains, can also lead to shoulder impingement.

Of course, these are just a few of the potential injuries a polo player will face during practice and play. Other common polo injuries include contusions, strains, sprains, fractures and stress fractures, concussions, and lacerations.

Products

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Acute Sinew Liniment

Acute Stage Treatment: Rub on the injured area when swelling and/or inflammation are present.

Quickly relieves pain, reduces swelling and inflammation, and breaks up clotted blood and stagnant fluids in the injured area. Stimulates circulation of blood and fluids to help cells quickly repair damaged tissues, providing rapid pain relief and faster healing. Sinew Herbal Ice can be used in-between applications.
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Our price: $39.95
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Chronic Sinew Liniment

Chronic Stage Treatment: Rub on the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather.

Strongly stimulates circulation to damaged tissues and promotes the healing of overstretched tendons, ligaments and muscles, thereby quickly relieving pain, stiffness and weakness. Sinew Injury Poultice, Sinew Relaxing Soak, and the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Sinew Herbal Ice

Acute Stage Treatment: Apply on the injured area when swelling and/or inflammation are present.

This first-aid ice alternative poultice (balm) is used in place of ice to significantly speed up the recovery and healing process. Reduces redness, swelling, and inflammation while dispersing accumulated blood and fluids to help restore normal circulation to the injured area. It reduces the swelling and inflammation more effectively than ice, allowing you to more quickly regain normal range of motion. Acute Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.
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Sinew Injury Poultice

Chronic Stage Treatment: Apply on the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather.

This poultice (balm) is particularly useful if your injured area is more painful in cold and damp weather. It significantly stimulates circulation to damaged tissues and further promotes the healing of overstretched tendons, ligaments and muscles. Chronic Sinew Liniment, Sinew Relaxing Soak and the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Our price: $37.95
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Sinew Relaxing Soak

Chronic Stage Treatment: Used to soak the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If the injured area is too large or in an area that can’t be submerged in a pot of water, you can also saturate a towel in the liquid and apply it to the injured area.

This soak is particularly useful if you feel restricted mobility in your injured area. It is used to relax muscles, tendons and ligaments that are in spasm to reduce pain and stiffness and improve range of motion. Chronic Sinew Liniment, Sinew Injury Poultice and the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Sinew Sports Massage Oil

This specially formulated massage oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It penetrates deep into muscle layers to warm and stimulate muscles, increase circulation and relieve tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.
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Sinew Warming Soak

Chronic Stage Treatment: Used to soak the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If the injured area is too large or in an area that can’t be submerged in a pot of water, you can also saturate a towel in the liquid and apply it to the injured area.

This soak is particularly useful if your injured area is more painful and sensitive to cold or hurts more in cold weather. It is used to bring warmth into the injured area to drive coldness out of damaged tissues and increase local circulation, thereby relieving pain and stiffness in cold weather. Chronic Sinew Liniment, Sinew Injury Poultice and the Sinew Relaxing Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Our price: $23.95
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