About Sports Injuries
Athlete, fitness enthusiast or not, sports medicine can help you recover from a sports injury. Sports injuries are injuries or damages that occur to one or more parts of the body during sporting activities. These kinds of injuries can take place during any type of sport or situation and are very common. The extent of the injuries and the type of damage they cause depends on a variety of factors including the specific type of activity whether it’s exercising at the gym, running, .Football, Tennis, Basketball, Boxing, or Golf among others. For a professional athlete, a severe injury may force one to discontinue his or her career, while other sports injuries are less consequential and can easily be treated.
The branch of medicine tasked with the management and treatment of sports injuries is referred to as Sports Medicine or Orthopedic medicine. The medical professional with the requisite training in handling cases of sports injuries is known as a sports doctor/orthopedic surgeon.
Causes of Sports Injuries
Sports injuries are commonly caused by overuse, direct impact or the application of force that is greater than the body part can structurally withstand. Common causes of sports injuries include:
- Poor training methods
- Overstretching of muscles resulting in strain and tears
- Overuse typically caused by repeated, microscopic injuries to a part of the body
- Compression of nerves or impingement resulting in aches and pains
- Structural abnormalities
- Uneven leg length
- Excessive pronation or “flat feet”
- Cavus foot or “over-high arches”
- Bow leggedness or knock-knee alignment
- Weakness in muscles, tendons, ligaments
- Direct contact or impact most common in contact sports
- Fracture of bones arising from falls or high impact
- Dislocations of joints
- Bleeding caused by direct hits or blows
Inner structures of the body affected by Sports Injury
Sports injuries can affect both internal and external structures of the body. They include bones, tendons, muscles, blood vessels, bursae as well as ligaments.
One may experience bleeding from muscles forming Hematoma (a swelling arising from the accumulation of blood). If the hematoma remains unresolved, it may lead to the development of cyst (a congregation of abnormal tissues) that may require surgical intervention to remove. Deep bruising that is unattended to can sometimes lead to calcification (formation of hard stone-like contents) in the muscle. This condition becomes difficult to treat and requires a prolonged period to heal.
There could be rupturing of a tendon with associated inflammation. This inflammation of the tendons causes the victim to experience severe pains. It typically takes about 6 months following a tendon damage for it to fully recover.
Bursae are structures that lower the effects friction around joints. Due to external pressure, the bursae could become inflamed, swell and cause pain.
Ligaments play the important role of maintaining the stability of joints and any injury to ligaments lead to joint laxity or loose ligaments which usually causes chronic body pain.
Bones may become injured during a sporting activity. The most common bone injury is a fracture. Fractures cause an inability to move the injured part and prompt treatment is required. A tiny crack in the bone caused by repetitive stress or force from overuse are called stress fractures. The vast majority of stress fractures heal within 8 weeks of treatment; however, a small percentage may require surgical intervention.
Most Common Sports Injuries
The most common sports injuries typically affect the shoulders, elbow, wrists, hands and legs.
Rotator Cuff Injuries (Shoulder)
Shoulder injuries cover many sports injuries from dislocations, misalignment, strains on muscles and sprains of ligaments. The rotator cuff consists of muscles around the shoulder that help in the rotation of the arm; the shoulder is the weakest joint of the body and is subject to a great deal of force during athletic activities. An injury to these muscles causes pain in the front of the shoulder, which moves down the arm.
Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow (Elbow)
Tennis and golfer’s elbow is usually prominent in athletes who perform a great deal of gripping activities. It is often labeled as an overuse sports injury and is also known as medial or lateral epicondylitis. The tennis and golfer’s elbow injury arises when pain is felt with the arms kept in a horizontal position with the palms facing upwards. The pain originates in the outer part of the elbow and courses down the forearm. Due to the repetitive action, the tendons of the forearm can become inflamed and make any wrist or hand motions extremely painful
Baseball Finger (Hand, finger and associated joints)
Mallet finger is an injury to the thin tendon that straightens the end joint of a finger or thumb. Although it is also known as “baseball finger,” this injury can happen to anyone when an unyielding object (like a ball) strikes the tip of a finger or thumb and forces it to bend further than it is intended to go. As a result, you are unable to straighten the tip of your finger or thumb on your own.
Hamstring Injury (lower limbs)
This injury is common with football and soccer players. It arises due to a rapid contraction of the muscles found at the back of the thigh. Unfortunately, the hamstring muscles can be tight and are susceptible to a strain or pulled muscle. Poor stretching techniques or lack of stretching can be the cause of a hamstring tear/strain. Often, an athlete with a hamstring tear will experience bruising in the back of the thigh or the knee.
One of the most common knee injuries is called patellofemoral syndrome. This diagnosis can be caused by a slip or a fall onto the knees, swelling of the knee joint or a muscle imbalance.
Sciatica is back pain that also travels down the back of the leg or even to the feet. This radiating pain can additionally be associated with numbness, burning and tingling down the leg. Sciatica can be seen in athletes who are in a flexed forward posture, including cyclists, or athletes who perform a great deal of trunk rotation like golfers or tennis players. The back pain and radiating pain can be caused by a bulging disc or a pinched nerve.
Shin splints are most often found in athletes who are runners or participate in activities with a great deal of running, such as soccer or football. Athletes with shin splints complain of pain in the lower leg bone, or the tibia. Athletes typically get shin splints diagnosed early in their season, as they increase activities or mileage too quickly.
The groin muscles run from the upper-inner thigh to the inner thigh right above the knee. Groin muscles pull the legs together and are often injured with quick side-to-side movements and/or a lack of flexibility. A groin pull or strain may be indicated when there is difficulty with lateral movements, getting in and out of cars, as well as tenderness or bruising in the groin or inner thigh.
ACL Tear or Strain
The ACL, anterior cruciate ligament, is one of the major stabilizing ligaments of the knee. The most common cause of sports injuries for an ACL strain is slowing down and trying to cut, pivot or change directions. Ligaments on the inside of the knee are often torn with the ACL injury, making it a devastating event.
Hip Flexor Strain
The hip flexors are muscles found on the upper-front side of your thigh. The main functions of the hip flexor muscles are to lift the knee toward your trunk, as well as assist moving your leg toward and away from the other leg. Sports injuries to this muscle group can be caused by sprinting, running inclines and activities with quick turns and sudden starts.
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