Sports injuries occur when playing indoor or outdoor 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 and strains, fractures, and dislocations.
The most common treatment recommended for 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 that are followed 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, mouthguards, and pads, comfortable clothes, and athletic shoes before playing any sports activity which will help to reduce the chances of injury
- Make sure that you follow warm up and cool down exercises before and after sports activity. Exercises will help to stretch the muscles, increase flexibility, and reduce soft tissue injuries
- Avoid exercising immediately after eating a large meal
- Maintain a healthy diet which will nourish the muscles
- Avoid playing when you are injured or tired. Take a break for sometime after playing
- Learn all the rules of the game you are participating in
- Ensure that you are physically fit to play the sport
Some of the common sports injuries include:
Foot and ankle Injuries
Foot and ankle injuries include the injuries in the leg below the knee and they are common while playing sports such as football, hockey, skating and in athletes. Treatment for some of these conditions may be orthotics, braces, physical therapy, injections or surgery. Common sports injuries include sprains and strains, ankle fractures, and Achilles tendinitis.
Severe pain in shoulders while playing your favorite sports such as tennis, basketball and gymnastics may be because of torn ligament in shoulder or shoulder dislocation. These may be caused by overuse of shoulder while playing sports. Simple pain or acute injuries may be treated with conservative treatment and chronic injuries may require surgical treatment.
Fractures of the femur bone, labral tear and hip dislocation are some of the common sports injuries affecting the hip. Hip joint bears more weight and is more susceptible for injuries while playing sports. Hip injuries require immediate medical intervention to avoid further complications. Rehabilitation programs and physical therapy is often recommended following the medical intervention where you need to perform certain exercises to strengthen the muscles and improve the movements.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is major stabilizing ligament in the knee which may tear with over use of knee for playing sports. The ACL has poor ability to heal and may cause instability. Other common sports injuries in knee are cartilage damage and meniscal tear. Knee injuries of sports may require surgical intervention that can be performed using open surgical or minimally invasive technique. Your surgeon will recommend you for physical therapy to strengthen your muscles, improve elasticity and improve the movements of the bones and joints.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is concentrated portion of blood plasma containing more amounts of platelets. The platelets contain growth factors that help in healing of chronic injuries. The PRP treatment involves injection of high concentration of patients’ own platelets into the injured tendon in order to stimulate the body’s healing capacity. The ligaments and tendons have a poor blood supply due to which healing is delayed. Injecting platelets rich in growth factors into these areas hastens the healing process because the growth factors also stimulate the defense cells, (neutrophils, monocytes and fibroblasts) which have a prominent role in repair process, resulting in quicker pain relief and faster recovery.
In this procedure, the blood is withdrawn from your body and centrifuged for about 15 minutes to separate blood plasma (liquid separated on top) and blood products (settled at the bottom). The plasma is taken and kept aside in a sterile injection. This is later injected into the site of injury under sterile conditions and ultrasound guidance. The PRP treatment is accomplished in several treatment sessions and each session may take less than an hour. You may have to wear a splint after the procedure and you may be advised to practice certain physical therapy exercises.
The procedure is considered safe, risk of infection is minimal, offers minimal discomfort and the recovery is quick. However, patients may experience certain complications including pain, bruising, and damage to neighboring structures such as nerves, blood vessels, and infections.
Sports Medicine Topics
Click on the topics below to find out more from the Orthopaedic connection website of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.