Young people and adults involved in sports are often the victims of sports injuries. Understanding what a sports injury is, and how to respond, can reduce the time it takes to recover. Sports injuries include strains and sprains, knee and other joint injuries, swollen muscles, tendon injuries, pain along the shin bone, fractures, dislocations, and concussion.
Two Types of Injuries
A sports injury may be chronic, or acute. Experiencing a sudden, severe pain is often an acute injury. There may be swelling, and the patient may not be able to place weight on or use the affected limb. Tenderness and inability to move a joint, or a bone or joint that is visibly out of place are all signs of an acute injury. Chronic injuries are a result of playing a sport or exercising. The patient may experience pain when engaging in exercise or activities, with a dull ache when at rest. Swelling of the affected area may or may not be accompanied.
Responding to a Sports Injury
Many sports enthusiasts believe it’s best to “play through” pain. Pain, however, is the body’s danger signal. When the pain is sharp, severe, or sudden, stop exercising or participating in the sport immediately. You’ll need to see a doctor if the pain is severe, or there is swelling or a numb feeling in the area, if you can’t use or put weight on a limb, if a joint feels unstable, or if an old injury swells.
If the pain or ache is less severe and you do not suspect a fracture or severe strain, it may be safe to treat the injury at home. Remember to use RICE when treating sports injuries- Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
Rest the affected area, keeping weight off an injured limb and limiting activity. Apply ice to reduce swelling and pain. Even pressure, applied with an elastic wrap, air cast, or splint, can reduce swelling. Elevate the injured area above your heart to reduce swelling.
If you suspect you’ve suffered a sports injury, call Alphacare for an exam.