Sports injuries occur when playing 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, strains, fractures, and dislocations.
The most common treatment recommended for an 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 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, pads, comfortable clothes, and athletic shoes before playing any sports activity.
- Make sure that you do warm up and cool down exercises before and after sports activities. These exercises will help to stretch muscles, increase flexibility, and reduce soft tissue injuries.
- Avoid exercising immediately after eating a large meal
- Maintain a healthy diet which will nourish your body.
- Avoid playing when you are injured or tired.
- Learn all the rules of the sports you play.
- Ensure that you are physically fit to play the sport
Some common sports injuries include:
Pain in shoulders while playing sports such as tennis, basketball, or gymnastics may be due to a torn tendon or ligament in the shoulder. These may be caused by overuse or trauma while playing sports. These injuries may be treated with conservative treatment or may require surgical treatment.
Fractures of the femur bone, labral tears, and hip strains are some of the common sports injuries affecting the hip. The hip joint bears more weight and is more susceptible to injuries while playing sports. Hip injuries require immediate medical attention to avoid further complications. Rehabilitation programs and physical therapy are often recommended following medical treatment where you need to perform certain exercises to strengthen the muscles and improve the movements.
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a major stabilizing ligament in the knee which may tear while playing sports. The ACL has a very poor ability to heal, which may lead to knee instability. Other common sports injuries to the knee include meniscal tears and other types of cartilage damage. Sports knee injuries may require surgical intervention that can be usually performed using minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques. After surgery, your surgeon will recommend physical therapy to strengthen your muscles and increase range of motion of your joints.
Sports Medicine Topics
Click on the topics below to find out more from the Orthopaedic connection website of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.