Sports injuries occur when playing indoor or outdoor sports or while exercising. Sports injuries can result from accidents, inadequate training, improper use of protective devices, or insufficient stretching or warm-up exercises. The most common sports injuries are sprains and strains, fractures, and dislocations.
The most common treatment recommended for injury is rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE).
- Rest:Avoid activities that may cause injury
- Ice:Ice packs can be applied to the injured area which will help to diminish swelling and pain. Ice should be applied over a towel to the affected area for 15-20 minutes four times a day for several days. Never place ice directly over the skin
- Compression:Compression of the injured area helps to reduce swelling. Elastic wraps, air casts, and splints can accomplish this
- Elevation:Elevate the injured part above heart level to reduce swelling and pain.
Some of the measures that are followed to prevent sports related injuries include:
- Follow an exercise program to strengthen the muscles
- Gradually increase your exercise level and avoid overdoing the exercise
- Ensure that you wear properly-fitted protective gear such as elbow guards, eye gear, facemasks, mouth guards, and pads, comfortable clothes, and athletic shoes before playing any sports activity which will help to reduce the chances of injury
- Make sure that you follow warm up and cool down exercises before and after sports activity. Exercises will help to stretch the muscles, increase flexibility, and reduce soft tissue injuries
- Avoid exercising immediately after eating a large meal
- Maintain a healthy diet which will nourish the muscles
- Avoid playing when you are injured or tired. Take a break for some time after playing
- Learn all the rules of the game you are participating in
- Ensure that you are physically fit to play the sport
Some of the common sports injuries include:
Severe pain in shoulders while playing your favorite sports such as tennis, basketball and gymnastics may be because of torn ligament in shoulder or shoulder dislocation. These may be caused by overuse of shoulder while playing sports. Simple pain or acute injuries may be treated with conservative treatment and chronic injuries may require surgical treatment.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is major stabilizing ligament in the knee which may tear with over use of knee for playing sports. The ACL has poor ability to heal and may cause instability. Other common sports injuries in knee are cartilage damage and meniscal tear. Knee injuries of sports may require surgical intervention that can be performed using open surgical or minimally invasive technique. Your surgeon will recommend you for physical therapy to strengthen your muscles, improve elasticity and improve the movements of the bones and joints.
Foot and ankle injuries include the injuries in the leg below the knee and they are common while playing sports such as football, hockey, skating and in athletes. Treatment for some of these conditions may be orthotics, braces, physical therapy, injections or surgery. Common sports injuries include sprains and strains, ankle fractures, and Achilles tendinitis.
Some of the common sports injuries that may affect the hands and wrists include finger fracture, mallet finger, jammed finger, wrist sprains, tendinitis of the wrist, and Colles wrist fracture. Tennis elbow and Golfer’s elbow are the sports injuries involving the elbow joint.
Sports Injury Management
When you suffer an injury during sports events, never try to continue the activity in pain because it may cause further harm. Some injuries may require prompt attention by a doctor, while others can be treated at home.
You should seek medical treatment if:
- The injury is causing severe pain, swelling, or numbness.
- You are not able to put any weight on the injured area.
- The pain or dull ache of an old injury has increased along with swelling and joint instability.
If you do not have any symptoms mentioned above, you can adopt self –care treatment at home. You should follow the RICE method immediately after injury to relieve pain and inflammation. These steps should continue for at least 48 hours.
- Rest: You should take rest from regular exercises or daily activities as needed.
- Ice: Apply an ice pack over the injured area for 20 minutes at a time. This should be done four to eight times a day. A cold pack, ice bag, or plastic bag filled with crushed ice and wrapped in a towel can be used.
- Compression: Compress the injured area with elastic wraps, special boots, air casts, and splints. This helps to reduce swelling.
- Elevation: Keep the injured elbow or wrist elevated on a pillow, above the level of the heart. This is to help decrease swelling.
Your doctor may recommend other treatments to help your injury heal. These include:
- Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, or naproxen sodium reduce swelling and pain.
Immobilization involves reducing movement of injured area to prevent further damage. It also reduces pain, swelling, and muscle spasm. Slings are given to immobilize the arms and shoulders.
Surgery may be necessary to repair torn tendons and ligaments or to realign the broken bones.
Rehabilitation involves exercises that get the injured area back to normal condition. Exercises start with gentle range-of-motion exercises followed by stretching and strengthening exercises.
- Other Therapies
Other common therapies that help in the healing of sports injuries include mild electrical currents (electro stimulation), cold packs or cryotherapy, heat packs or thermotherapy, high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound), massage and platelet rich plasma (PRP injections).