Sailing Injuries

 

 

 

Sailing is a popular recreational activity and competitive sport among people of all ages and genders. There’s actually an array of different sailing vessels, types of races, and job roles in the sport of sailing. Some races, such as the America’s Cup, occur in closed, marked, and protected water courses. Races like the VELUX 5 Oceans Race are longer distance races that involve open, offshore waters. The boats used for sailing races can include any vessel powered by the wind, including vessels like catamarans, skiffs, keelboats, and dinghies. Depending on the size of the vessel, the sailboat’s crew can consist of a single-person to 20 or more sailors performing unique jobs. Sailing is certainly an interesting and exhilarating sport, but it’s also challenging and holds a risk of injury for sailors.

How Do Sailing Injuries Occur?

Sailing is a complicated process that requires physical and mental agility to complete some complex maneuvers. Sailing injuries can fall under one of two broad categories - overuse or traumatic. Overuse injuries are frequently the result of prolonged, strenuous, and/or repetitive motions. Traumatic injuries are an assault to the body, such as from a fall or being hit by a boom. Of course, poor physical conditioning, slippery deck conditions, improper equipment, and improper body mechanics can increase a sailor’s likelihood of suffering either type of injury.

What Are Some Common Sailing Injuries?

Contusions

Contusions are common injuries in sailing. A contusion, also called a bruise, is the result of blunt force trauma between the body and another object or person. In sailing, multi-person crews run the risk of tripping over one another or colliding. The sailboat’s hardware, especially mobile parts, can also present a risk to sailors.

Most contusions in sailing are either subcutaneous contusions or muscle contusions. However, if the force behind the impact is substantial enough, bones and internal organs can also be bruised. The force of the impact compresses or crushes the tissue and blood vessels underneath the affected area. The damaged blood vessels seep blood into nearby tissues. It’s this seeping, stagnating blood that creates the classic black-and-blue appearance of a contusion that can be seen from the surface of the skin. A lump called a hematoma may form over the site of injury. The injury site may be painful, tender, swollen, and warm. Muscle contusions may additionally be accompanied by muscle weakness and cramping. Contusions near a joint may cause the nearby joint to become stiff and difficult to move.

Low-Back Strains And Sprains

According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, lower back injuries were the most common types of injuries suffered by the 2002 Brazilian Olympic sailing team. Similar studies of other Olympic-level teams seem to echo the frequency of back injuries among sailors. Pulling ropes, grinding, wrestling the keel, hiking, lifting spinnaker poles, and other job-specific roles on a sailboat can place a great deal of repetitive stress on the lower back. The limited, often awkward, space on the sailboat and the speed and intensity at which the sailor performs his/her various roles frequently contributes to lower back strains.

The lower back is the lumbar portion of the spine. Anytime a sailor bends, rotates, or extends from the waist, the lower back is being used. The lumbar section is also the weight-bearing portion of the spine. As such, this area is particularly prone to soft tissue strains and sprains.

A strain is when one or more of the muscles and/or tendons in the lower back becomes stretched or torn. A sprain is a similar injury, but involves the ligaments in the lower back. Strains and sprains in the lower back are often hard to distinguish from each other since both can cause decreased range of motion, stiffness, low-back pain, and possible muscle spasms. Both strains and sprains are graded based on the degree of injury to the ligament, tendon, or muscle:

Grade 1 - abnormal stretching or microscopic tearing of the affected ligament, tendon, or muscle.
Grade 2- less than 90% of the affected ligament, tendon, or muscle is torn.
Grade 3 - 90% or more of the affected ligament, tendon, or muscle is torn.

Of course, these are just a few of the many injuries common to sailing sports. Other common injuries may include: fractures or concussions from falls or impacts with equipment, teammates, or other sailboats; lacerations; tendinitis; bursitis, especially in the shoulder and elbow; cartilage damage in the knees from hiking; and so forth.

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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Our price: $34.95
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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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Our price: $29.95
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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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