Written By Dr. Charles R. Kaelin / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
People who regularly engage in sports and physical activities are susceptible to a wide range of injuries. No matter how “in-shape” you are, injuries are bound to happen at some point.
Anyone from a seasoned athlete to a casual sports fan can suffer from a sports-related injury – especially children. And while most common sports injuries can be treated with the RICE method and some pain medication, others may require a prolonged and more difficult recovery process.
What Causes Sports Injuries?
Sports injuries are injuries sustained while participating in a sport or exercising. They can happen accidentally or as a result of putting too much force on a body part – either all at once or over an extended period.
Often, sports injuries are caused by overtraining and poor training practices such as not warming up or using improper training gear. However, they can also be the result of muscle/tendon weakness and unsafe training conditions.
The type of injuries you’re likely to sustain largely depends on what sports you participate in. The more you know about common sports injuries, the better prepared you will be if something goes wrong. Recognizing the signs and knowing when to seek medical attention can improve your chances of making a full recovery.
5 Common Sports Injuries
There are two main types of sports injuries: acute injuries and chronic injuries.
Acute injuries are usually caused by accidental falls or blows. In most cases, acute injuries are not life threatening and can be treated at home.
Chronic injuries, on the other hand, are a result of injuries that have persisted for an extended period, typically due to repetitive training. Acute injuries can develop into chronic injuries when left untreated.
Here are five of the most common sports injuries:
1. Strains and Sprains
Strains and sprains are two of the most common sports injuries as they can happen while performing almost any athletic activity. Strains occur when a muscle is pulled beyond its normal limits, while sprains occur when you tear or overstretch a ligament.
Most strains are minor and heal naturally with rest. However, if you experience limited range of motion and notice severe bruising on the affected area, we recommend visiting an orthopedic specialist as soon as possible.
2. Knee Injuries
The knee endures a lot of punishment and wear, especially when playing sports that involve plenty of running. ACL tears, cartilage tears, dislocations, and fractures are some of the most common knee injuries in athletes.
There are a variety of treatment options for knee injuries, depending on severity. Milder injuries can be treated with rest and physical therapy, while more severe ones may necessitate surgery and keep athletes out of action for months at a time.
3. Shin Splints
Shin splints is a term used to describe the inflammation of the muscles and tendons in the lower leg, specifically the area around the shin. It is caused by repeated stress and high impacts on the lower leg muscles and common among runners and basketball players.
Shin splints are characterized by pain in the front of the lower leg that worsens as you continue playing. Luckily, these injuries are acute and the pain usually goes away with rest.
4. Dislocated Joints
Joint dislocation occurs when one or more bones in a joint are yanked out of their normal sockets. Contact sports such as football and basketball are notorious for causing dislocations, but so can over-exerting yourself.
A dislocated joint must be realigned as soon as possible with the help of a medical professional. Damage to the soft tissue surrounding the injured joint can cause long-term pain and other side effects.
There are two types of fractures common in people who engage in sports: stress fractures and acute fractures. Of the two, acute fractures are more serious as they involve an actual break in the bone.
Fractures are some of the most dangerous sports injuries you can experience. Whether it’s an acute fracture or a stress fracture, seek medical attention immediately to prevent the condition getting worse. Severe fractures and complete breaks may require surgical intervention to restore the bone’s normal function.
Preventing Sports Injuries
There are two simple ways to avoid sports-related injuries.
One -- make sure you use the right equipment; never play a sport without proper protective gear. And, two -- stretch before and after playing or exercise. Also, don’t forget to hydrate and take time off to allow your body to recover.
Every year, sports injuries sideline millions of athletes and physical fitness enthusiasts. But while it’s impossible to avoid all sports-related accidents and injuries, good training habits can help lessen the risk.
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Dr. Charles R. Kaelin received his medical degree from the University of Louisville, Kentucky, and completed his orthopaedic training at Orlando Regional Center in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Kaelin also received training in Sports Medicine at Alabama Sports Medicine with Dr. Lemak, specializing in sports medicine and workman's compensation injuries. He has been a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) since 1990. He is a charter member of the International Cartilage Research Society, Founding member of the AAOS Education Enhancement Fund (AAOS) and past editorial board member for the American College of Sports Medicine Health and Fitness Journal.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.