What Are Sports Injuries?
The term sports injury, in the broadest sense, refers to the kinds of injuries that most commonly occur during sports or exercise.
Sports injuries can occur due to overtraining, lack of conditioning, and improper form or technique. Failing to warm-up increases the risk of sports injuries. Bruises, strains, sprains, tears, and broken bones can result from sports injuries. Soft tissues like muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia, and bursae may be affected. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is another potential type of sports injury. Although virtually any part of your body can be injured during sports or exercise, the term is usually reserved for injuries that involve the musculoskeletal system, which includes the muscles, bones, and associated tissues like cartilage. Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries are relatively rare during sports or exercise.
One of the building blocks of a healthy lifestyle is exercise and physical activity, therefore sports injury is a major hindrance. Prevention of injuries in exercise and sports has been emphasized severally in various publications and fields. However, much of the pointers emphasized to help reduce the risk of sports injuries are not adhered to. Some athletes and individuals kick themselves hard after realizing that some injuries could have been avoided easily if only, they adhered to simple measures such as wearing protective clothing or seeking the right medical treatments for their injuries. This would have saved them from the traumatic experience and fear associated with a sports injury.
Some sports injuries result from accidents; others are due to:
- Poor training practices
- Improper equipment
- Lack of conditioning
- Insufficient warmup and stretching
Types of Injuries in Sports
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Tears of the ligaments that hold joints together
- Tears of the tendons that support joints and allow them to move
- Dislocated joints
- Fractured bones, including vertebrae
Muscle strain is another name for a pulled muscle. It occurs when a muscle is overstretched and tears. Symptoms of a pulled muscle may include pain, swelling, weakness, and difficulty or inability to use the muscle. Muscles in the quadriceps, the calves, hamstrings, groin, low back, and shoulder are the most common sites for pulled muscles. Minor muscle strains resolve with RICE — Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help manage pain and swelling as well. More serious muscle strains require evaluation and treatment by a doctor.
A stress fracture is an overuse injury that occurs when muscles are no longer able to absorb the impact from physical activity, and a bone absorbs the pressure, resulting in a break. Stress fractures can occur when increasing activity, especially too quickly. Stress fractures cause pain with activity. Rest is prescribed to allow a stress fracture to heal. Sometimes a special shoe or a brace helps decrease stress on the bone, which facilitates healing. The majority of stress fractures occur in the lower legs and feet. Women are more prone to stress fractures than men.
The plantar fascia is a ligament that connects the heel to the front of the foot, supporting the arch. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of this ligament. It causes heel pain often felt the first thing in the morning after getting out of bed or after being active. Stress and strain on the feet increase the risk of plantar fasciitis. Obesity, tight calf muscles, repetitive use, high arches, and new athletic activities are all risk factors for this condition. Plantar fasciitis is treated with rest, ice, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and special stretching exercises. Cushioning insoles may provide relief. Wearing splints at night may help decrease pain. More severe cases of plantar fasciitis may be treated with cortisone injections, physical therapy, and surgery.
Shin splints are throbbing, aching, or stabbing pain on the insides of the lower leg. Shin splints are a repetitive use injury that may occur in runners or those who are beginning to exercise. Pain occurs when muscles and tendons around the tibia (the larger of the two lower leg bones) become inflamed. Stretching, resting, and applying ice can help relieve shin splints. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce pain and swelling. Bandaging the area may help prevent swelling. Flat feet increase the risk of shin splints. Orthotics and proper athletic shoes may offer support and decrease the risk of shin splints.
Dr. SHUAIB KAUSAR is a qualified Orthopaedic Surgeon with vast experience in the field of Orthopaedics. He has extensive knowledge and expertise in all areas of Orthopaedics including Trauma, Arthroplasty, Arthritis, Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy & Spine care. He is a highly skilled surgeon renowned not just for his expertise but also because of his caring attitude and precise treatment.