Sports injuries can cause significant damage and consign you to the sidelines for weeks or even months. Preventing sports injuries or ensuring they receive prompt, high-quality treatment when they do occur is vital to one’s recovery.
Not all sports injuries are preventable, but there are usually ways to reduce their frequency or severity.
Strain or Sprain
Strains and sprains are common sports injuries that affect one’s muscles, tendons or ligaments. Both are similar injuries, but strains typically affect muscles and tendons while sprains denote ligament damage. Athletes commonly strain their backs, elbows, legs or feet and sprain their ankles, knees or wrists.
Strain and Sprain Prevention
Athletes can lower their risk of strains and sprains by stretching before practicing or playing the sport. Exercises that strengthen the muscles usually help prevent strains. Improper body mechanics and repetitive movements (like pitching) may increase the risk of injury. Athletes may benefit from working with specialized experts, like pitching instructors or golf swing analysts, to correct their form and reduce their risk of injury.
Strain and Sprain Treatment
Symptoms like pain, swelling, bruising, weakness and limited mobility are common following strains and sprains. Strains and sprains are often minor injuries that can be treated at home with ice and rest. Particularly severe ligament, tendon or muscle injuries may require surgical intervention. Your doctor may also recommend a splint to ensure a successful recovery.
Fractures, or broken bones, are often painful and nearly always require medical attention. Fractures are common after particularly violent or forceful impacts, like a football tackle, especially if excessive force is exerted at an unnatural angle.
Type of Fractures
Acute and stress fractures are two of the most common types suffered by athletes.
- Acute Fractures are often caused by direct impact. These fractures typically cause pain, bruising and swelling
- Stress Fractures usually happen over time. If an athlete constantly pushes their body to extreme limits, they stress their bones, which could lead to an acute fracture.
Wearing properly fitting pads and other safety equipment could help protect players from fractures, or at least minimize the severity of fractures if they do occur. Proper form and accident avoidance may also help reduce the chance of fractures. The risk of stress fractures may be reduced by ensuring players receive adequate time to recover between games and practices.
Fractures suffered during games or practice usually necessitate emergency intervention. Players should be taken to an emergency room or urgent care for immediate treatment. Minimizing movement of the affected limb to prevent further injury is recommended. If there is blood, the wound should be properly cleaned prior to the bone being set. The ideal treatment for a fracture will vary based on where the fracture occurs and its severity. A cast or surgery may be required.