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The Right Approach of Dealing with Sports Injuries
Posted On: February 16, 2018
Sports injuries are characterized by an injury that occurs when you indulge in any kind of sport or exercise.
Though any of your body parts can get injured when you play sports, sports injury as a term is precisely used for the injuries of your musculoskeletal system. These injuries have been classified into various types, some of which include:
Sprain: It is defined as a tear to the ligaments which join the ends your bones together. A sprain is commonly experienced in writs, ankles and knees.
Shin splint: In this injury type, you have pain on the front side of your lower leg and it commonly occurs in the runners.
Strain: It is the pulling or tearing of the muscles or tendons - tissues attaching the muscles to your bones.
Fractures of the bones and dislocation of joints are also among the common sports injuries.
Sports injuries can also be acute or chronic. The acute injuries occur suddenly when you undertake any sports or exercise and result in sudden and severe pain. It can even lead to the inefficiency to carry weight on your limb, or to move the damaged part of your body. Chronic injuries normally occur when one area of your body is overused, over a certain time period. Chronic injuries cause symptoms as soreness, pain when undertaking a physical activity and dull aching pain.
Based on the type of injury you have suffered, sports injuries can be classified into:
More commonly known as muscle strain, pulled muscle occurs when your muscle gets overstretched causing it to tear. A pulled muscle can be characterized by weakness, pain, swelling, and trouble or inability in using the muscle. A pulled muscle condition can occur in the muscles in your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, groin, lower back, and shoulder. If it is a minor pull then you can get over it with the help of proper rest, ice compression over the affected area. In case of extreme or severe muscle pull, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help in managing the pain and swelling as well. In case of very serious cases, the muscle strain will need professional evaluation and treatment by an expert.
Your medial collateral ligament (MCL) connects your upper leg bone (femur) to your larger bone of the lower leg (tibia). Located on the inner side of your knee, MCL generally gets injured when you make a wrong move or receive a direct blow on your knee that pushes it sideways. When you suffer from torn MCL, it causes pain, swelling, and weakness in the joint. You can treat this condition with physical therapy, ice and bracing. Surgery will often be recommended in the cases where along with torn MCL, other structures in your knee also get injured.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) aids in holding your knee joint together while also offering the required stability. You encounter a torn ACL upon landing the wrong way, stopping all of a sudden, changing direction quickly or when you face a direct blow on the knee. You will hear a popping sound when you suffer a torn ACL and it will feel as if your knee has stopped functioning. Among the symptoms, ACL often causes swelling, pain and loss of range of motions. You may even find it difficult to walk. As far as the treatment goes, the ACL is reconstructed surgically with the help of a graft taken from another ligament in your body. You may be recommended rehabilitation in order to restore the strength plus function of your knee joint post surgery. Surgery may not be a feasible option in a certain case depending on our age, health and the desired activity level. In such cases, you can get some relief with the help of braces and physical therapy.
It is an overuse injury often occurring when your muscles lose the ability to absorb the brunt of your physical activity. The pressure is instead absorbed by a bone, which results in the bone breaking. Stress fractures can occur when increasing activity, especially too quickly. Stress fractures majorly occur in your lower legs and feet. This injury is more common in women as compared to men. The main symptom of stress fractures is pain when you do an activity. The best way to heal stress fracture is to take proper rest. In certain cases, you may even be recommended a special shoe or a brace that can help in decreasing stress on your bone. This aids in quick healing.
Shin splints are trembling, aching, or resonating pain that occurs on the insides of your lower leg. Shin splints occur when the muscle is used repeatedly and is commonly seen in the cases of runners as well as people who newly begin an exercise routine. You will experience when your muscles as well the tendons around your tibia, which is the larger of your two lower leg bones, get inflamed. Toge relief from shin splints which are minor, you can stretch, rest or apply ice. For reducing the pain and swelling, you can take medications. Swelling can even be prevented by bandaging the affected area. You are at risk of shin splints when you have flat feet. With orthotics and proper athletic shoes, you can get the needed support and cut down the risk of shin splints.
The plantar fascia is a ligament connecting your heel to the front of your foot. It supports the arch. Plantar fasciitis is a type of inflammation occurring to this ligament. It results in heel pain which you will often feel as you get up in the morning or when you do any activity. Stress and strain on your feet increase the risk of plantar fasciitis. Some of the common risk factors include tight calf muscles, obesity, repeated use, high arches, as well as new athletic activities. Plantar fasciitis can be treated with proper rest, ice, special stretching exercises and some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and. Cushioning the insoles can also offer relief. If the case is very severe, it can be treated with cortisone injections, surgery, and physical therapy.
You encounter a sprained ankle when the ligaments supporting your joint become overstretched. Ankle sprains can occur when you play sports or do everyday activities. Other causes include stepping wrongly on an uneven surface or stepping by twisting or rolling your foot. To get relief from the pain, you can take proper rest and apply ice. If the pain is severe, medication can be taken for relieving the pain and swelling.
Tennis elbow is also an overuse injury associated with playing racket sports. Plumbers, painters, and people in similar professions stand to be at a risk of suffering from tennis elbow. It involves inflammation of your tendons on the outside of your elbow, which is caused by small tears. Tennis elbow results in pain and is even associated with a weak grip. Proper rest and taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications will help alleviate tennis elbow symptoms. To decrease the pressure on the sore area, you can try wearing a special brace on the forearm. Physical therapy can even be helpful in this case. Surgery will be an option in case of tennis elbow if any other treatments fail.
Runner's knee, which is even known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, happens to be a painful condition. It occurs when your tendons, joint lining (synovia), or other soft tissues of your knee become irritated. Overuse and misaligned kneecap is also known to cause runner's knee. Other than pain, runner's knee can even cause popping and cracking. To minimize the problem, you can consider switching to activities that do not stress your knee joints. Like other problems, the Runner’s Knee can also be treated with proper rest, physical therapy and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Causes of Sports Injuries
There are several causes that can lead to sports injuries. Some of the commonly known causes happen to be:
Trauma: It is one of the most common causes of injury, especially related to high speed or high impact sports. It can include anything, from sprained ankles to broken bones. Traumatic injuries usually occur because of the collisions with other people playing the same sport, or with the ground or any other hard object. These injuries normally occur very suddenly, which means avoiding them is a minimal possibility.
Excessive stress or load on the body: Your body tissues can sustain considerable stress, however; if the stress force is too high, it can push the tissues beyond their level of sustainability, which can result into injury. You can avoid such injuries by carefully deciding the frequency, time and pressure as put in the exercise or sport you undertake
Poor Exercise Technique: It is known to cause stress and strain on the body tissues that can result in injury. In several cases, repeating an action excessively, or using a faulty technique to exercise can result in injuries.
Poor, Missing, or Inappropriate Equipment: Sometimes the injury occurs because of poor or missing equipment. This can include headgear, footwear, and other protective as well as supportive devices.
Risk Factors Involved With Sports Injuries
While most of the sports injuries can occur suddenly owing to some of your activities, there are certain things that can increase your risk of suffering from sports injuries. These risk factors include:
Being Overweight: If you are overweight, it will increase the stress, strain, and load on your muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, and bones when you do any physical activity. Thus, it increases the risk of developing sports injuries and various other health complications.
Body Defects: The shape and structure of your major joints can also increase your risk of suffering from sports injuries. For instance, if your feet ‘pronate’ (roll inwards), have flat feet, or your feet have high arches, weak arch, leg length discrepancies, it can contribute to lower leg, shin, and knee conditions, particularly in the runners.
Joint Laxity: It is the inability to control or stabilize the joints throughout their full range of motion.
Lack of Flexibility: It prevents your joints, tendons, and ligaments from being able to move from the required ranges of motions. This eventually places an excessive stress and strain on the tissues thus increasing your risk of developing sports injuries.
Muscle Weakness or Imbalance: This can cause increased stress and strain on your tendons, joints, ligaments, and bones when you do any kind of physical exercise, thus increasing your risk of developing sports injuries.
Signs and symptoms
Most often, sports injuries are characterized by pain and swelling on the affected area. Along with this, there are other signs as well which include:
Acute Tenderness: You can feel tenderness in the affected area with minimal efforts – such as pushing the area with your finger. This is indicative that you’ve had a serious damage. As there won’t be any bruising, it becomes difficult to diagnose if the injury is related to your joint, muscle or bone. If you experience tenderness, you should meet a doctor and diagnose the problem.
Joint Pain: Whether the injury is a minor one or severe, you will experience some degree of pain and discomfort. If you experience a throbbing pain along with articulation – especially of the locomotive joints as knees or ankles, which last for more than 48 hours, you will have to undergo an examination at a doctor’s clinic.
Swelling: Swelling is very common in sports injuries. You will have to monitor if the swelling is mild or severe. If the swelling doesn’t go away after applying ice or taking rest, you will have to take it seriously. The swelling also causes pain and restricts the movement of your joints. In such cases, you should seek immediate medical help.
Lack of Motion: Sometimes pain and swelling may not be very obvious in case of sports injuries. However, if you experience a lack of motion, it is a telltale sign that you have suffered sports injury and it should be brought to the attention of your doctor as soon as possible.
Numbness, Tingling: Another commonly occurring sign of sports injuries is numbness or a tingling sensation, which commonly happens when the injury is very severe. This indicates damage to your nerve and should be evaluated by your physician.
Comparative Weakness: When any of your joint or muscle group gets compromised by a serious injury, you will experience significant weakness in the affected area. Comparative tests help you to self-diagnose the intensity of the injury. To do the test, you should try and lift light weights with both your injured and uninjured side. Comparing the results will help you know which side is weak.
Prevention of Sports Injuries
Sports injuries can occur anytime and while you can treat them with various treatment options, it is always good to pay attention to certain things that can help in preventing the sports injuries.
Some of the methods you can try are:
Taking Time Off: Don’t let the muscles get overused, always plan one day off per week when you play a particular sport so that your body gets time to recover. Even exercise routine should be followed with a break time so that the muscles can get some time to relax. You can substitute the hardcore exercises with some light exercise.
Use the Right Gear: If you are a sportsperson, you should make it a point to wear the right gear. You should consider wearing apt and properly fitting guarding equipment like pads for neck, chest, knee, elbow, shoulder and shin, helmets, face guards, mouthpieces, protective cups, or eyewear.
Strengthen Muscles: You should have a particular workout routine that can help in strengthening muscles and reducing the risk of injury. Conditioning exercises while practice can help in strengthening the muscles that you will use in play.
Increase Flexibility: Doing some sort of stretching exercises before and after your games can help in increasing the flexibility. It should, in fact, be made a part of your daily fitness routine.
Use Right Technique: Not using the right technique as applicable to the sport you play, can cause severe side effects. This is why it is advisable that you should consider following the right techniques.
Stay Hydrated: You should make it a point to avoid heat injury by keeping your body hydrated before, during as well as after exercise or play. You should stop your practices or competitions in very extreme heat conditions.
There are various options for treating sports injuries but that varies based on your injury type, the location, and intensity.
You will have to consult a specialist to understand what treatment options will be applicable in your case. Some of the sports injuries can easily be treated with proper care at home, which includes compression, ice application and proper rest. However, if this doesn’t give any relief, you can try other options like physical therapy or surgery. In certain cases, you may even be advised over-the-counter pain relievers. But which treatment option is feasible for you can only be suggested by the doctor upon detailed consultation.
One of the treatment modules that help in treating sports injuries happens to be Arthroscopy. Also known as arthroscopic surgery, it is a minimally invasive procedure which helps the surgeons in examining, diagnosing, envisioning and treating damages as related to the interior of your affected joint. This process is carried out with the help of an arthroscope, a type of endoscope - which is inserted into your joint to be treated via a small incision in your skin.
Any injury related to your musculoskeletal system can easily be diagnosed and treated with the help of Arthroscopic procedures. This process can aid treat an array of orthopedic conditions.
Some of the commonly treated orthopedic conditions under Arthroscopy include torn floating cartilage, ACL reconstruction, torn surface cartilage, and trimming the damaged cartilage.
As one of the renowned centre for joint replacement surgeries, Shalby Hospitals has got highly certified and experienced team of arthroscopy surgeons in Ahmedabad, as well as in all its units spread across the country. Our Arthroscopic surgeons not only help offer the right treatment plan as per your injury type, but they even assist in speedy recovery.