Sports activities and exercise can lead to a range of injuries. Many injuries occur due to overuse, trauma, using ill-fitting and inappropriate equipment, and poor training techniques.
Some common sports injuries include:
Sports medicine is the discipline that deals with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of sports injuries. It also involves working with the athlete to improve technique and performance.
Sports injuries can be broadly classified as acute or chronic injuries.
- Acute injuries: Acute injuries are injuries that occur suddenly and may include a sprained ankle, fracture or back strain. Some symptoms of acute injuries include swelling, sudden pain, or extreme weakness in the arm or leg.
- Chronic injuries: Chronic injuries are injuries that occur after an extended period of time and are often due to an old injury or repeated overuse of the muscles or joints.
When you experience an injury during exercise or a sports activity, a thorough evaluation of the injury is necessary to accurately diagnose the problem. Typically, symptoms are first controlled with conservative measures to aid in pain relief and reduce inflammation.
Some examples of conservative measures are:
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Immobilization: in some cases splints, casts, slings and leg immobilizers are needed
- Heat or ice application
- Injections: Platelet-rich-plasma, Stem cell, Cortisone
Most sports injuries do not require surgery. However, when conservative treatments do not relieve symptoms, advanced imaging and surgical treatment may be suggested.
Prevention of injuries is key. Here are some ways to prevent sports-related injuries:
- Follow an exercise program to strengthen the muscles. Gradually increase your exercise level and avoid overdoing the exercise.
- Wear well-fitting protective gear such as: elbow guards, eye gear, facemasks, mouth guards and pads, comfortable clothes, and athletic shoes.
- Warm up and cool down properly before and after the sports activity.
- Maintain a healthy diet and adequate hydration.
- Avoid playing when you are injured or tired.
- Ensure that you are physically fit to play the sport.