Sports injuries occur when playing indoor or outdoor sports or while exercising. They 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 reduce swelling and pain. Ice should be applied over a towel on 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 also helps reduce swelling. Elastic wraps, air casts and splints can accomplish this.
- Elevation: Elevate the injured part above your 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 reduce the chances of injury.
- Make sure that you follow warm-up and cool-down exercises before and after the sports activity. Exercises will help stretch 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:
Foot and ankle injuries
Foot and ankle injuries include the injuries in the leg below the knee, and they are common in athletes and while playing sports such as football, hockey and skating. Common sports injuries to the foot and ankle include sprains and strains, ankle fractures, and Achilles tendinitis. Treatment for these conditions may include orthotics, braces, physical therapy, injections or surgery.
Severe pain in your shoulders while playing your favorite sport, such as tennis, basketball or cross-country skiing, may be caused by bursitis/tendonitis, or torn tendons or cartilage in the shoulder. These may result from overuse of your shoulder while playing sports. Severe injuries like shoulder dislocations can also occur from higher energy trauma. Overuse shoulder injuries can often be treated with conservative treatment, while more traumatic injuries may require surgical treatment.
Fractures of the femur bone, labral tear and hip dislocation are some of the common sports injuries affecting the hip. Severe hip injuries require immediate medical intervention to avoid further complications. Rehabilitation programs and physical therapy are often recommended following medical intervention, where you need to perform certain exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve movements.
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a major stabilizing ligament in the knee. This may tear during an acute twisting-type injury while playing sports. The ACL has poor ability to heal and may cause chronic knee instability. Other common sports injuries in the knee include cartilage damage and meniscal tears. Knee injuries during sports may require surgical intervention, which can be performed using open surgical or a minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques. Your surgeon will often recommend physical therapy to strengthen your muscles, and improve elasticity and movement of the bones and joints.
Sports Medicine Topics
Click on the topics below to find out more from the orthopedic connection website of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.