Two Types of Sports Injuries
As indicated by the title, sports injuries are injuries that happen when playing sports. Anyone is liable to find themselves injured from sports, there is no age limit on sports related industries. What people may not know is that there are two types of sports injuries; acute and chronic. Acute injuries occur suddenly and are instantly recognizable like a sprained ankle. Chronic injuries are injuries that occur from playing sports for an extended period of time such as tendonitis or other inflammatory conditions.
Signs of a Sports Injury
Some of the most common symptoms of a sports related injury include:
- Sudden and/or severe pain
- Joint or bone that is visibility out of place
- Inability to put weight on knee, ankle, foot, or leg
- Extreme tenderness at injury site
- Inability to move joint as normal
- Pain while playing
- Dull, ongoing ache even while resting
The most common sports injuries are sprains and strains. Sprains are injuries to ligaments, the bands that connect the bones in a joint. Suddenly overstretching ligaments can deform or tear them, resulting in a sprain. Strains are injuries to the actual muscle fibers or tendons that anchor the muscle to the bone. Strains are also called pulled muscles and the name is fitting. Similarly to sprains, strains are also caused by overstretching or overusing a muscle which results in tearing the muscle fibers.
Treatment and Prevention of Sports Injuries
Most sport related injuries are treated with the RICE method:
- Rest-decrease regular activity and rest the injury
- Ice-apply an ice pack to the injury for 20 minutes up to eight times per day
- Compression-apply even pressure on injured area to reduce swelling
- Elevation-put a pillow under injury to raise at a level above the heart if possible
Doctors may also recommend over-the-counter anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol to help relieve pain and decrease swelling. An immobilizer such as a sling, splint, or cast may also be given to the patient to prevent more damage being done to the injured area. For more serious injuries, such as ACL and MCL tears, surgery and or rehabilitation therapy may be required.
Not all sports injuries are preventable, but surprisingly, many of them are. Individuals can bring on the injuries themselves by participating in activities they are not conditioned for. Skipping out on warm-ups can also result in injuries. Even a gentle warm-up will increase blood flow to the muscles, give your body more flexibility, and can help decrease injuries.
Avoiding overuse is another easy way to avoid injury. If you haven’t played baseball in several years, avoid going to a batting cage for two hours. Recognize when you are fatigued and stop at that point. Don’t feel the need to push your body past its limit. Light training or daily exercise leading up to your participation in sports activities can help prevent things like sprains, strains, and dislocations.
Sports injuries are common and treatable. If you find yourself injured from a sports related accident, follow the RICE method and your doctor’s orders to achieve a quick recovery.