Sports injury | Sunday Observer

Sports injury

21 February, 2021

In this article I will discuss sports injuries in a nutshell.

Sports injuries are caused by overuse or direct impact during sports. An example of an overuse injury is back strain among fast bowlers in cricket. Direct impact injuries are common in sports such as rugby, football and motor sports.

The injuries can be acute or chronic.

Acute injuries are, ankle sprain, knee injury.

Chronic injuries are caused by repeated overuse of muscle groups or joints. Poor technique and structural abnormalities can also contribute to the development of chronic injuries.

Medical investigation of any sports injury is important, because you may be hurt more severely than you think. For example, what seems like an ankle sprain may actually be a bone fracture.

Types of sports injuries

Some of the more common sports injuries include:

Ankle sprain – symptoms are, pain, swelling, warmth.

Bruises – a blow can cause small bleeds into the skin (contusions).

Concussion –Due to an impact on the head a transient loss of

consciousness can occur. Consciousness is regained. Symptoms

include headache, dizziness and short term memory loss.

Cuts and abrasions – are usually caused by falls. The knees

and hands are particularly prone. Common in rugby.

Dehydration – losing too much fluid can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Dental damage – a blow to the jaw can crack, break or dislodge teeth.

Groin strain – symptoms include pain and swelling.

Hamstring strain – symptoms include pain, swelling and bruising.

Knee joint injuries – symptoms include pain, swelling and stiffness.

The ligaments, tendons or cartilage can be affected, i.e. anterior

cruciate ligament injury

Nose injuries – nose bleeding or broken nose, are caused by a direct blow.

Stress fractures – particularly, in the lower limbs. The impact of

repeated jumping or running on hard surfaces can eventually stress and crack bone.

Specialist medical attention is needed in the following injuries.

Immediate transfer to a nearby tertiary hospital is a priority.

prolonged loss of consciousness

neck or spine injuries

broken bones

injuries to the head or face

eye injuries

abdominal injuries.

In head and neck injuries cervical spine has to be stabilised before moving the injured. Application of a hard collar around the neck and stabilising the spine is a priority.

Treatment for sports injuries

Treatment depends on the type and severity of the injury. Always see your doctor if pain persists after a couple of days. What you think is a straightforward sprain may actually be a fractured bone. No one should suffer in pain. Pain can be controlled by interventional blocks and medications. This can be achieved by consulting a specialist in sports medicine or a specialist in pain medicine.

Physiotherapy can help to rehabilitate the injured site and, depending on the injury, may include exercises to promote strength and flexibility. Returning to sport after injury depends on your doctor’s or physiotherapist’s assessment.

Trying to play before the injury is properly healed would only cause further damage and delay recovery. The biggest single risk factor for soft tissue injury is a previous injury. While the injury heals, you can maintain your fitness by choosing forms of exercise that don’t involve that part of your body, if possible.

Prevention of sports injuries

You can reduce your risk of sports injuries if you:

Warm up thoroughly by gently going through the motions of

your sport and performing slow, sustained stretches.

Wear appropriate footwear.

Tape or strap vulnerable joints, if necessary.

Use the appropriate safety equipment,

such as mouth guards, helmets and pads.

Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after the game.

Try to avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day,

between 11 am and 3 pm.

Maintain a good level of overall fitness, particularly, in the off season

(in the months between playing seasons for a sport).

Cross-train with other sports to ensure overall fitness and muscle strength.

Ensure that training includes appropriate speed and impact work

so muscles are capable of the demands of a game situation.

Don’t exert yourself beyond your level of fitness. Gradually increase

intensity and duration of training.

Use good form and technique.

Cool down after sport with gentle, sustained stretches.

Allow adequate recovery time between sessions.

Have regular medical check-ups.

Dr Namal Senasinghe MBBS, Dip in Pain Med, FFARCS, FFPMCA, CCST(U.K) is a Consultant in pain medicine at the London Pain Management Centre, No. 31, Horton Place, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka.
Hotline 0767155716