Introductory statement, definition & epidemiology
Sports injuries are injuries that happen when playing sports or exercising. Some are from accidents. Others can result from poor training practices or improper gear. Some people get injured when they are not in proper condition. Not warming up or stretching enough before you play or exercise can also lead to injuries. The most common sports injuries are :
- Sprains and strains
- Knee injuries
- Swollen muscles
- Achilles tendon injuries
- Pain along the shin bone
Acute or chronic injury
There are two kinds of sport injury : acute or chronic.
Acute injuries occur suddenly when playing or exercising. Sprained ankles, strained backs, and fractured hands are acute injuries. Signs of an acute injury include :
- Sudden, severe pain
- Not being able to place weight on a leg, knee, ankle, or foot
- An arm, elbow, wrist, hand, or finger that is very tender
- Not being able to move a joint as normal
- Extreme leg or arm weakness
- A bone or joint that is visibly out of place
Chronic injuries happen after you play a sport or exercise for a long time. Signs of a chronic injury include :
- Pain when you play
- Pain when you exercise
- A dull ache when you rest
What should I do if I get injured?
Never try to “work through” the pain of a sports injury. Stop playing or exercising when you feel pain. Playing or exercising more only causes more harm. Some injuries should be seen by a doctor right away. Others you can treat yourself.
Call a doctor when :
- The injury causes severe pain, swelling, or numbness
- You can’t put any weight on the area
- An old injury hurts or aches
- An old injury swells
- The joint doesn’t feel normal or feels unstable.
If you don’t have any of these signs, it may be safe to treat the injury at home. If the pain or other symptoms get worse, you should call your doctor. Use the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method to relieve pain, reduce swelling, and speed healing.
Treatment often begins with the RICE method :
- Rest: Reduce your regular activities. If you’ve injured your foot, ankle, or knee, take weight off of it. A crutch can help. If your right foot or ankle is injured, use the crutch on the left side. If your left foot or ankle is injured, use the crutch on the right side.
- Ice: Put an ice pack to the injured area for 20 minutes, four to eight times a day. You can use a cold pack or ice bag. You can also use a plastic bag filled with crushed ice and wrapped in a towel. Take the ice off after 20 minutes to avoid cold injury.
- Compression: Put even pressure (compression) on the injured area to help reduce swelling. You can use an elastic wrap, special boot, air cast, or splint. Ask your doctor which one is best for your injury.
- Elevation: Put the injured area on a pillow, at a level above your heart, to help reduce swelling.
Pain killer- Your doctor may prescribe you some pain killer to decrease the pain and swelling.
Immobilization- Immobilization is a common treatment for sports injuries. It keeps the injured area from moving and prevents more damage . Slings, splints, casts, and leg immobilizers are used to immobilize sports injuries.
Surgery- In some cases, surgery is needed to fix sports injuries. Surgery can fix torn tendons and ligaments or put broken bones back in place. Most sports injuries don’t need surgery.
Rehabilitation (Exercise)- Rehabilitation is a key part of treatment. It involves exercises that step by step get the injured area back to normal. Moving the injured area helps it to heal.
The sooner this is done, the better. Exercises start by gently moving the injured body part through a range of motions. The next step is to stretch. After a while, weights may be used to strengthen the injured area.
These tips can help you avoid sports injures.
- Don’t bend your knees more than half way when doing knee bends.
- Don’t twist your knees when you stretch. Keep your feet as flat as you can.
- When jumping, land with your knees bent.
- Do warm up exercises before you play any sport.
- Always stretch before you play or exercise.
- Don’t overdo it.
- Cool down after hard sports or workouts.
- Wear shoes that fit properly, are stable, and absorb shock.
- Use the softest exercise surface you can find; don’t run on asphalt or concrete.
- Run on flat surfaces.
|Last Reviewed||:||26 April 2012|
|Writer||:||Dr. Azaiddin Akasah|
|Reviewed||:||Dr. Fitjerald Henry|