What are the most common sports injuries?
Injuries can happen in every activity people pursue. Sports injuries are those that simply happen while we are training, practicing and playing sports. They are the same injuries that we get when we have accidents doing regular activities. Sports injuries are frequently the result of a lack of preparation, or an expectation of performance greater than our ability.
Most sports injuries in non-contact sports involve:
- Sprains: Injuries to a joint ligament through overstretching or tearing
- Strains: Stretching or tearing of muscles
- Overexertion: Attempting to perform beyond one’s abilities, or preparation
In contact sports athletes may experience all of those injuries and more. The most common contact sports injuries include impact injuries:
- Head and neck injuries: Concussions, fractures, nerve damage
- Joint dislocations: Shoulder, fingers, hips, and knees, are most common
- Broken bones: Arms, wrists, knees, legs, ankles and collarbones are most common
Sports injuries can be acute or chronic. Acute injuries are an immediate injury. Chronic injuries are due to wear and tear on the body, or improper healing of an injury that continues to cause pain and/or lack of mobility.
What are the best ways to avoid sports injuries?
Training and preparation are the best way to avoid sports injuries. Training is what happens days and weeks before an activity. Preparation is what you do just before it.
Pre-activity preparation involves:
- Energy: Proper diet prior to improve performance
- Proper hydration: Water intake to avoid overheating
- Stretching: Loosening and preparing the whole body just prior to the activity
- Proper equipment: Wearing appropriate safety gear
- Post activity stretching: To ensure muscles don’t tighten up
Sports injuries can be acute or chronic. Acute injuries come on suddenly and may cause severe pain. Chronic injuries can be painful, but develop over a longer period of time.
How will my doctor at First Physicians treat my sports injury?
The treatment you receive will depend on the type of injury you have. In general, sports injuries are treated in one or more of the following ways:
- Rest: Injured area and the whole body
- Ice: Injured body part in first 48 hours after injury
- Compression: Wrap injury to prevent movement and further injury
- Elevation: Raising affected body part helps reduce swelling and pain
- NSAIDs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen to help reduce swelling and pain
- Immobilization: Braces and casts to help healing and avoid further injury
- Surgery: Referrals to an orthopedic surgeon for certain types of bone fractures
- Physical therapy: Reduces pain in soft tissue and improves movement