• Robert Martin, DO

Sports Injury & Sports Medicine

Updated: Dec 30, 2021

Sports injuries occur during any type of sporting activity. It can be caused by an accident, impact, poor training practices, improper equipment, lack of conditioning, or insufficient warm-up or stretching. Chronic injuries build up over time by repetitive use such as running, weight training, and other sports.

Sports Injury & Sports Medicine

Children of age between 5 to 9 visit the emergency department for injuries on the playground more than any other age group.


Age 6 to 19: In this age group, sports-related injuries cause about 20% of all injury-related emergency department visits. Children and teens are most likely to suffer from strains and sprains followed by fractures, bruises, scrapes, and concussions.


Men of age between 25 to 40 are most likely to get hurt from bicycling, basketball, football, baseball, softball, or soccer.


There are common two types of sports injuries that are

  1. Acute sports injuries

  2. Chronic sports injuries


Acute Sports Injuries

An acute sports injury occurs as a result of a fall, specific motion, movement, or activity like twisting an ankle during a basketball game or getting hit during a football game. It can also be caused by a non-contact injury, where an athlete lands and twists a joint.


Some of the acute sports injuries are:

  1. Strain

  2. Sprain

  3. Contusion

  4. Fracture, etc.,

Signs & Symptoms of acute sports injuries

They are often easy to identify because of their hallmark signs and symptoms that include: swelling, sudden and severe pain or tenderness, not able to move or put weight on it, bruising, etc.


Chronic Sports Injury

Injuries caused by repetitive motions over a prolonged time of period are called as chronic sports injuries. It is also called as overuse injury as they result from wear-and-tear over time and cannot be seen through naked eye.


Some examples for chronic injury are:

  1. Achilles tendon injuries

  2. Runner's knee

  3. Jumper’s knee

  4. Stress fractures

  5. Tennis elbow

Signs & Symptoms of chronic sports injuries

Signs and symptoms for chronic injury include: pain when you play or exercise, dull ache when resting, swelling or fluid build-up, pain during activities of daily living, etc.


Common Causes

The most common cause of overuse athletic injuries, is continued athletic participation despite the presence of symptoms associated with another injury (example: pitcher who continues to throw despite persistent elbow tendonitis). Even increasing workout time in an abrupt manner can result in overuse athletic injuries, especially when an athlete attempts to perfect a single isolated skill.


For example: Basketball is a team sport characterized by high intensity activities such as jumping, sprinting, shuffling and direction changes. Strength training is something each player undergoes to improve upper body strength, leg strength, and even fingertip strength. The exercise they undergo to improve themselves with maximum amount of repetition or the pressure exerted on the joints when they jump to shoot a ball or during swift movements while playing, all play a role in causing chronic injuries in long-term.


Sports injury affecting our life

You have probably heard or read about major athletes quitting their elite careers midway as a result of sustaining injuries. Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries are extremely common in contact sports. The problem is that even after the concussion heals, some damage may remain.


Your body can experience lasting effects from playing sports even without specific injuries; this is because of general overuse which can cause problems down the road. People who are injured in sports may suffer negative emotions such as boredom, depression, or frustration.


A sprain can also affect you in long-term. Those who have suffered a severe sprain in the past, are susceptible to new sprains in the same spot. Some injuries can affect quality of life like, decreased range of motion, disability, using assisted devices to move, etc.


Sports Medicine

Sports medicine is basically a discipline of orthopaedic management, where we treat injuries predominantly generated by sports. We all think of ourself as athletes as we try to stay fit and active, and here in Carolina Regional Orthopaedics, our focus is to get you back to what we were doing before as quickly as possible.


Not only young people suffer sports injury. People in their mid-40s, working out in gym or engaging in occasional sports activity could hurt themselves during the process and that is also considered as a sport injury, which requires sports medicine and management.


Advancements in Sports Medicine

Diagnosis and therapy are rapidly evolving in sports medicine. There have been many recent advances in the understanding of the pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of sporting injuries.


There are many technologies which aim to improve the state of sportsmen and sportswomen going through the rough period of recovery, as well as technology-based methods to prevent those injuries. In sports medicine, the future holds a shift towards prevention through genomics, nutrigenomics, countless trackers, and wearables.

  • Gait & Motion Analysis, Multi-joint Dynamometer with Sports Simulator

  • Balance Assessment and Training System (BATS), EMG Biofeedback, Human

  • Performance Evaluation (VO2 max), muscular strength training/testing

  • Treatments such as advanced arthroscopic interventions and regenerative medicine opened up a plethora of options for the advanced treatments in sports injuries, performance enhancement and fitness.

Treatment Options

The “PRICE” method is a simple self-care technique that helps reduce inflammation, swelling, and ease the pain helping it to speed up healing.

The acronym P.R.I.C.E. stands for:

  1. Protection

  2. Rest

  3. Ice/Heat

  4. Compression &

  5. Elevation

Sports injuries are treated with both non-surgical (conservative) and surgical (definitive) treatment options. Depending on your condition and severity, your sports medicine specialist may prescribe nonsurgical options such as:

Surgical Options

Surgery is often considered a last resort. Surgery is most commonly used following a serious injury or as a result of persistent symptoms, which have not been eradicated using other treatments. Common surgical procedures in sports medicine include, repair to damaged cartilage, ligaments, or tendons in any joint.


Surgery can usually be used to repair damaged soft-tissue, align bones and re-position joints. Many sports injuries are treated by keyhole surgery today; this involves the surgeon using a tiny camera to guide them rather than making a large incision and carrying out an open procedure (this is also known as an arthroscopy). This type of surgery is particularly common with knee injuries.


Regenerative Medicine

Advanced options regenerative therapeutics, such as platelet-rich plasma, prolotherapy, and mesenchymal stem cells, have emerged as options to treat sports-related injuries. Evidence for their efficacy in a variety of sports injuries has emerged, ranging from tendinopathy and muscle tears to ligament and chondral injuries.


Takeaway

Prevention is always better than a cure.


Avoiding sports injury is far better than treating it afterwards and I encourage you to protect yourselves from sports injuries or any injuries.


If at all you sustain an injury, please call 911 and go the emergency room immediately. I would strongly recommend visiting an emergency room instead of treating it yourself, because a lot of severe conditions start from occult injuries that are underlying over a long period of time. Strength training, warm-up exercises, and stretching can help athletes of all ages prevent sports injuries.


Using proper protections for sports such as helmets, safety mats, pads, guards, protective footwear and padded flame-resistant pressure suits for motorcyclists are essential. I hope the above information was helpful. I will see you in my next article. Take care!


Carolina Regional Orthopedics

Carolina Regional Orthopaedics provides the most effective, modern, and innovative techniques in both Orthopedic Surgery and Pain Management using proven methodologies in both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of all conditions affecting the spine, upper extremities, and lower extremities. We specialize in hand and wrist surgery, joint replacements, sports medicine, trauma care, pediatric orthopedics, pain management, wound care, regenerative medicine, physical therapy, imaging services, and EMG testing.

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