Among the causes of TMJ is sports injury. This can be caused either by a traumatic blow to the jaw or muscle strain that puts stress on the temporomandibular joint.
Sports Where Jaw Trauma Is Common
There are many sports where jaw trauma is a common type of injury. These occur in all types of combative sports such as boxing and martial arts.
Jaw injury is also common in basketball. With the verticality of the sport, people often suffer blows to the jaw, which can lead to temporomandibular joint injury. Worse, basketball players rarely wear a mouthguard, making injury more likely.
Finally, any sport that uses a bat or stick, such as baseball, hockey, or lacrosse increases the risk for jaw injury because these give additional leverage to blows.
Jaw Strain in Sports
It’s also possible to suffer TMJ because you are overworking your jaw during sports. Clenching your teeth is common when you are trying to use all your strength, but it’s not healthy for the temporomandibular joint.
There haven’t been many studies of this type of sports injury leading to TMJ, but anecdotal reports suggest it is especially prevalent in weightlifting.
When, Why, and How to Seek Treatment
If you have suffered a jaw trauma when playing sports, and you notice that you have ongoing symptoms, such as jaw pain, jaw clicking, and restricted jaw movement, you may have displaced the disc in your temporomandibular joint.
Even if you haven’t suffered a jaw trauma, if you feel sore in your jaw muscles, your jaw joint, or your teeth after practice or competition, you should have your jaw system evaluated.
TMJ is a progressive disorder. If left untreated what begins as merely annoying will progress into permanent damage requiring greater interventions.