Sports Injuries-What You Need to Know
Exercises and sports are fun and healthy, but you may get injured due to improper gear, training practices, or accidents. At Axon Health Associates, we prevent, treat, or manage all sports injuries, whether a leg or back injury; we help you get pain relief to return to the activities you love and enjoy. Our experienced specialists can manually adjust your spine to relieve pain and improve spine health. Read on to learn more about sports injuries, how they occur and how to prevent them.
This branch of medicine deals with physical fitness, prevention, and treatments of exercise or sports-related injuries. A medical investigation is essential when you get injured because you might be more hurt than you think.
How Sports Injuries Occur
Some injuries are caused by a lack of preparation, such as not stretching or warming up before embarking on any sport or training activity. Sports injuries can occur when you:
- Participate in contact sports which involve collision or tackling
- Take part in sports which involve a rapid change of directions, pivoting, running, and jumping.
- If you are unfit and have not been active regularly
- Not wearing the appropriate protective and sporting gear
- Improper techniques and inappropriate equipment
- Get into an accident when participating in sports from a heavy blow or a fall
- Are in poor health
- Shoes that do not fit well
The injuries can be either acute or chronic. Acute injuries occur suddenly, such as a sprained ankle or a bruise. In contrast, a chronic injury is caused by repeated overuse of joints and muscles, structural abnormalities, and poor technique.
Body Parts Commonly Injured
Body Parts that are most at risk of sports injuries include:
- Elbow injuries are commonly caused by pulls from activities such as shot putting due to repetitive motions and overuse leading to conditions like little league and tennis elbow.
- Knee injuries are commonly caused by falls with twisted joints. An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), joint dislocation, and meniscus tear might occur. Knee pain caused by jumpers’ knees or runners’ knees is also common.
- The Achilles tendon is a thick cord connecting the back of your lower leg (calf) to your heel. When an injury occurs, it can get stiff, inflamed, swollen, or torn.
- Foot and ankle injuries are commonly caused by sprains and strains. Injuries lead to stiffness, swelling, pain, and discomfort.
- The shoulder connects your upper arm to the body, and common sports injuries include rotator cuff tears (group of muscles and tendons in the shoulder) and rotator cuff tendinitis. Shoulder injuries are caused by high energy impact, falls, and pulls.
- The head, including your face, skull, and brain, may get injured, leading to a concussion.
- Hip and pelvic floor injuries may result in muscle injuries, thigh pain, torn ligaments, and muscles from football or running.
- Hand and wrist injuries commonly occur during exercise and sports and may lead to torn muscles, ligaments, and tendon injuries.
Types of Sports Injuries
Common types of injuries incurred in sports activities include:
They are quite a common sports injury caused by prostaglandins, a hormone-like substance that causes pain and swelling after overexercising. You might also feel soreness and discomfort in your muscles.
Muscle Strains or Muscle Pulls
These result mostly from overstretching and tearing the thick fibrous cords of tissues (tendons) that connect muscles and bone.
They happen when your bone is forced out (dislocates) of its socket, this leads to swelling, severe pain, and weakness.
Achilles Tendon Rupture
The Achilles tendon is a powerful thin tendon found at the back of your heels. This tendon might rupture or break when engaging in a sports activity, causing sudden severe pain and difficulty walking.
The cartilage is the soft, firm, flexible connective tissue between various joints in your body, such as your shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles. Torn cartilage occurs in the joints and causes immense pain.
Tendinitis (also known as tendonitis)
This condition occurs when the tissues connecting your muscles and bones become inflamed or swollen. It mainly happens in the shoulder, elbow, knee, Achilles tendon, and base of the thump.
This traumatic brain injury occurs from a blow, bump, or violent head or upper body shaking and can lead to headaches, concentration, memory, balance, and coordination. It’s mostly temporally and can cause loss of consciousness.
Broken bones or bone fractures
They happen when you break a bone along its length or straight across. A fracture can splinter the bone into several pieces or two pieces. There are many types of fractures, including stress, partial, displaced, complete, open, or closed fractures.
What to Do When an Injury Occurs
After an injury, the affected area may immediately be painful, swollen, tender, bruised, and restricted by movement. The symptoms may also be experienced hours later after the injury.
If you feel pain when exercising or during sport, stop immediately since it may cause further damage and affect your recovery. Contact your healthcare provider immediately in case of a severe injury such as a dislocation, head injury, or broken bone(s). Minor injuries can resolve on their own or with home remedies.
Sports Injuries Diagnosis and Treatment
During a diagnosis, a physical exam will be conducted, and you will be asked questions about your symptoms and what led to the injury. Depending on the severity of your injury, additional diagnostic tests may be recommended, such as X-rays, MRI, or a CT scan. The injured structures images help your doctor check the extent of your injury and diagnose and formulate a treatment plan.
Treatment depends on the severity and type of injury. Most injuries heal within a few days with home remedies and rest. The RICE method is a standard treatment for mild injuries, and it stands for:
RICE is best implemented within 24 to 36 hours after injury to minimize swelling, pain, and bruising.
Use over-the-counter medicines for pain relief and swelling. If the injuries do not heal or improve within two weeks, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
For serious injuries, treatment options include:
- Swelling and pain injections
- Prescription anti-inflammatory medications
- Immobilization with sling, cast, or splint
- Surgery for severe injuries to repair and correct tendon, fractures, and ligaments
- Rehabilitation or physical therapy to strengthen and improve injured body parts’ normal function and flexibility.
Seek emergency care or go to the emergency room if you experience the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Weakness or inability to bear weight on the joint
- Crunching or popping sounds when using the joint
- Severe swelling and pain
- Visible lumps, bumps, or other deformities
Avoid sporting activities until you are fully healed, and maintain your fitness by choosing exercises that don’t engage the affected body. Gradually increase activity levels over time with the approval of your doctor or physiotherapist.
Sports Injury Prevention
Ensure you are completely healed from the previous injury before you resume playing and exercises.
- Always warm up properly before exercise.
- Learn correct techniques through coaching.
- Avoid pushing your body beyond your fitness level.
- Use the right shoes, equipment, and protective gear.
- Maintain flexibility by stretching before and after sporting activity or exercise.
- Strengthen your core to improve balance and stability to avoid injuries.
- Take time to rest after activity to avoid muscle overuse, and do not exercise when tired or in pain.
- Stay hydrated to avoid heat stroke and dehydration.
- Frequently alternate different exercises and engage various muscle groups.
Letting sports injuries go untreated can do more harm and sideline you or prevent you from returning to sports altogether.
If you have a sports injury that is not improving after rest and home remedies, get in touch with Axon Health Associates for effective and comprehensive treatment plans. Contact us today for more information.