Sports Injuries Basics

Sports Injuries Basics

Sports injuries occur due to exercise or sports activities, and it affects people of all ages, but very common in children.

These injuries occur in people who are not active, play contact sports, and those who don’t warm up before a workout. Sports injuries affect mostly ankles and knees but can occur on the joints, muscles, bones, and connective tissues.

Types of Injuries

Sports injuries present different symptoms, depending on the type of injury.

Sprains and strains
Although used interchangeably, sprains and strains are different. A sprain is an injury to the ligaments found in the foot. It occurs after an accidental turn or twist of the ankle, which tears the ligaments—tissues that keep the joints stabilized. The symptoms include swelling, bruising, limited flexibility, and joint pain.

Strains, on the other hand, affects the tendons or muscle and mostly affect the hamstrings and the lower back. They occur when the muscles are torn or overstretched as a result of fatigue of the muscle. The symptoms include swelling, muscle spasm, and limited flexibility.

Knee injuries
This is an injury that affects the knee joint. It could be fractures, dislocation, meniscal tendon tears.

Achilles Tendon Rupture
Achilles tendon is a powerful and strong fibrous cord connecting the back calf to the heel bone. The tendon, if overstretched, can tear or rupture, causing a sharp pain at the lower leg and ankle affecting your walking.

Surgery is normally done to repair the rupture, but in minor cases, the doctor might opt for non-surgical treatment.

Bone fractures
Bone fractures occur due to excessive force exerted on your bone, causing it to break and shatter. Fractures vary depending on the impact or force exerted on the bone.

Rotator Cuff injury
The rotator cuff is made of four pieces of muscles, and it helps you move the shoulder in all directions. Rotator cuff injury ranges from mild to severe and can be tendinitis or bursitis.

Groin Pull
A groin strain or pull results from overstretching the groin and thigh muscles, and cause pain, tenderness of the groin muscles.

Treatment of Sport Injuries

After an injury occurs, you will experience swelling, bruising, and pain. The Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (R.I.C.E) therapy is commonly used to treat minor sports injuries.

  • Resting is important especially in the first few hours after an injury
  • Ice pack benefits you if applied in the first or second day after sustaining an injury. Ice relieves pain and decreases blood flow, thus preventing swelling. Use the ice treatment every 15 to 20 minutes, allowing the skin to get back to its normal temperature between treatments.
  • Compression can help prevent fluid buildup and minimizes swelling. Loosely wrap the affected area with a bandage to keep your leg immobilized to ease the pain, discomfort, and promote blood flow.
  • Elevation enhances fluid flow and reduces swelling. Elevate the leg above the heart using a wedge pillow.

The R.I.C.E method should be used for 48 to 72 hours after a sports injury. Don’t use heat during the first three days as it increases circulation thereby worsening the leg swelling,

You may also use over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce pain.

Preventing Sports Injuries

Warming up properly and stretching before an exercise is the best way to prevent sports injury.

Other preventive strategies include;

  • Using the proper equipment such as wearing the right shoes. Ill-fitting ones can increase the risk of injury
  • Use the proper movement technique. Exercises require different postures and stances. So, ensure you are in the right position before performing any exercise.
  • Don’t push yourself too hard, and don’t engage in strenuous activities. Make sure the pain has cleared up before you begin exercising again.
  • Remember to cool down after your workout, it will allow the muscles to relax and the heart rate to get back to normal.
  • Take things slowly and don’t start working out with the same intensity as before.

When to See the Doctor

R.I.C.E treatments work for most people with mild injuries. However, visit our emergency room in Temple, if you have any of these symptoms;

  • Deformities in the bone
  • Excessive swelling
  • Changes in the skin color
  • Not getting relief after using the R.I.C.E therapy
  • Have dizziness and difficulty breathing

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