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Sports & Injury

Most sports are not free from injuries. Sports injuries vary with the kind of sport and the mechanism of its injury. However injuries are more common in contact sports.


What are the common causes of sports injuries?

  • Collisions
  • Direct blows – by the opponent or by a sport equipment
  • Falls
  • Overuse/overtraining

What are the common causes of sports injuries?

  • Cuts and wounds
  • Contusions
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Dislocations
  • Fractures

What are the less common types of sports injuries?

  • A tear of the joint capsule
  • Concussions (mild brain injury)
  • Internal abdominal injury
  • Fracture / dislocation of bones and joints

What’s the difference between a sprain and a strain?

A sprain generally refers to an overstretched ligament whereas a strain refers to an overstretched muscle. A muscle tear is a strain.


What are the signs and symptoms of these injuries?

  • Pain – over the injured site
  • Swelling – over the injured site
  • Bruising – over the injured site
  • Structural deformity, i.e. the injured part appears deformed. (As in fractures and dislocations)
  • Functional deformity, i.e. the injured part is unable to function normally. (As in fractures, dislocations and tears of the joint capsule)
  • Headache – in cases of a blow to the head or a concussion
  • Dizziness – can accompany brain injury
  • Nausea and vomiting – this usually follows brain injury

It should be noted that one or more of the symptoms can be present.


What do you do if you suffer a sports injury?

There are some basic rules that you can follow and be safe; nonetheless oversimplifying things can be sometimes dangerous. When in doubt always ask for professional medical help!

The basic rule is RICE.

R –
‘R’ is for ‘Rest. Rest from the sport if necessary and rest the injured part. You want to keep the affected part in a comfortable position and not move it to prevent pain and further damage.
I –
‘I’ is for’Ice‘. You should apply ice on the injured part. Ice will cause vasoconstriction, i.e. it will narrow the blood vessels thereby limiting bleeding and reduce the swelling response as well. The cold will also reduce pain.
C –
‘C’ is for ‘Compression‘. You should apply ice on the injured part. Ice will cause vasoconstriction, i.e. it will narrow the blood vessels thereby limiting bleeding and reduce the swelling response as well. The cold will also reduce pain..
E –
E’is for ‘Elevation‘ .Keep the affected area elevated above the heart so that the swelling goes down. Elevating as frequently as possible is advisable.

How do you apply the ice?

In the sport environment crushed ice in an ice bag or a plastic bag as a cold compress is best recommended. The plastic bag will mould well over many joints.

To prevent skin burn, which doesn’t always occur, oil (olive/coconut) may be applied over the treatment area before the ice.

At home, small areas may be soaked in crushed ice with water.

For the first three hours
  • Apply the cold compress for 10-15 minutes for every half an hour
For the next 48 hours
  • Apply the cold compress for four to five times a day, 15-20 a minutes at a time
After 48 hours
  • Heat may be used

NOTE: Be sure to seek medical treatment if

  • Symptoms as pain, swelling and bruising are marked and intense or if they worsen over 24 hours. Expert medical attention is warranted to rule out fractures and grade 3 sprains
  • Pain interferes with daily activities of sleep
  • There is an inability to perform normal activities
  • There is obvious structural deformity
  • Headache, dizziness and vomiting or nausea, which can be a serious matter, is experienced. Do not delay going to the hospital

How can sports injuries be prevented?

Important measures are:

  • Always use the essential equipment of the right size and right fit, such as the helmet for biking, skating and skateboarding
  • Always use protective gear not only during games but also during practice. Goggles are recommended for racquet sports. Don’t wear your regular glasses when on the court or field. Mouth guards can protect your mouth, teeth and tongue in contact sports such as hockey, basketball, martial arts or boxing
  • Use wrist, knee, and elbow guards when participating in skateboard, in-line skating
  • Use the right footwear of the right fit as it can keep you from tripping and falling
  • Always warm up before your game
  • Stay off the court if you are recovering from an injury or if you have a flu
  • Always play by the rules. They are there to protect you
  • Always use proper techniques that are impacted by a good coach
Last Reviewed : 27 April 2012
Content Writer : Mr. Daaljit Singh a/l Harbachan Singh
Reviewer : Dr. Iskandar Firzada b. Osman