Injury type: Traumatic Brain Injuries, broken bones, head injuries, bruises, concussions, permanent injury
Prevention: Helmets, training, warm-ups
Treatment: Surgery, casts
Related topics: Traumatic Brain Injury
What Are Sports Injuries?
In recent years, increasing numbers of people of all ages have been heeding health professionals’ advice to become active in order to achieve the health benefits exercise offers. For some people – particularly those who overdo or who don’t properly train or warm up – the benefits may come at a price: sports injuries. In addition the stress of some sports may cause permanent long-term injuries. Other sports injuries occur to athlete’s who participate in team sports under the direction of an athletic trainer or coach.
Most sports injuries are treated effectively, and most people who suffer these injuries return to a satisfying level of physical activity after an injury. However, for those who suffer serious or permanent damage or harm the event may change their quality of life dramatically.
The term “sports injury”, in the broadest sense, refers to the kinds of injuries that most commonly occur during sports or exercise. Some sports injuries result from accidents; others are due to poor training practices, improper equipment, and lack of conditioning, or insufficient body warming stretching.
Although virtually any part of the body can be injured during sports or exercise, the term is usually reserved for injuries that involve the musculoskeletal system, which includes the muscles, bones, and associated tissues like cartilage or the head. The following are some of the most common sports injuries:
Sprains and Strains
A sprain is a stretch or tear of a ligament, the band of connective tissues that joins the end of one bone with another. Sprains are caused by trauma such as a fall or blow to the body that knocks a joint out of position and, in the worst case, ruptures the supporting ligaments. Sprains can range from first degree (minimally stretched ligament) to third degree (a complete tear).
A strain is a twist, pull, or tear of a muscle or tendon, a cord of tissue connecting muscle to bone. It is an acute, noncontact injury that results from overstretching or over contraction. Symptoms of a strain include pain, muscle spasm, and loss of strength. It may be hard to tell the difference between mild and moderate strains, however severe strains that are not treated professionally can cause damage and loss of function.
The knee is the most commonly injured joint. Each year, more than 5.5 million people visit orthopaedic surgeons for knee problems. Knee injuries can range from mild to severe. More severe injuries include bone bruises or damage to the cartilage or ligaments. Knee injuries can result from a blow to or twist of the knee; from improper landing after a jump; or from running too hard, too much, or without proper warm-up.
In many parts of the body, muscles (along with the nerves and blood vessels that run alongside and through them) are enclosed in a “compartment” formed of a tough membrane called fascia. When muscles become swollen, they can fill the compartment to capacity, causing interference with nerves and blood vessels as well as damage to the muscles themselves. The resulting painful condition is referred to as compartment syndrome.
Compartment syndrome may be caused by a one-time traumatic injury (acute compartment syndrome), such as a fractured bone or a hard blow to the thigh, by repeated hard blows (depending upon the sport), or by ongoing overuse (chronic exertional compartment syndrome), which may occur, for example, in long-distance running.
A fracture is a break in the bone that can occur from either a quick, one-time injury to the bone (acute fracture) or from repeated stress to the bone over time (stress fracture). Acute fractures can be simple (a clean break with little damage to the surrounding tissue) or compound (a break in which the bone pierces the skin with little damage to the surrounding tissue). Most acute fractures are emergencies. One that breaks the skin is especially dangerous because there is a high risk of infection.