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University of Utah
Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic
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Gateway Surgery Center
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Arizona General Hospital–Mesa
Sports Injuries: Common Types & Treatment Options
Sports injuries occur when playing indoor or outdoor sports or while exercising. Sports injuries can result from accidents, inadequate training, improper use of protective devices, or insufficient stretching or warm-up exercises. The most common sports injuries are sprains and strains, fractures, and dislocations.
The most common treatment recommended for injury is rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE).
- Rest: Avoid activities that may cause injury.
- Ice: Ice packs can be applied to the injured area which will help to diminish swelling and pain. Ice should be applied over a towel to the affected area for 15-20 minutes four times a day for several days. Never place ice directly over the skin.
- Compression: Compression of the injured area helps to reduce swelling. Elastic wraps, air casts, and splints can accomplish this.
- Elevation: Elevate the injured part above heart level to reduce swelling and pain.
Some of the measures that are followed to prevent sports related injuries include:
- Follow an exercise program to strengthen the muscles
- Gradually increase your exercise level and avoid overdoing the exercise
- Ensure that you wear properly-fitted protective gear such as elbow guards, eye gear, facemasks, mouthguards, and pads, comfortable clothes, and athletic shoes before playing any sports activity which will help to reduce the chances of injury
- Make sure that you follow warm up and cool down exercises before and after sports activity. Exercises will help to stretch the muscles, increase flexibility, and reduce soft tissue injuries
- Avoid exercising immediately after eating a large meal
- Maintain a healthy diet which will nourish the muscles
- Avoid playing when you are injured or tired. Take a break for sometime after playing
- Learn all the rules of the game you are participating in
- Ensure that you are physically fit to play the sport
Some of the common sports injuries include
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is major stabilizing ligament in the knee which may tear with certain injuries while playing sports. A torn ACL has poor ability to heal and may cause instability. Other common sports injuries in knee are patella (kneecap) dislocation, cartilage damage and meniscal tear. Knee injuries from sports may require surgical intervention that can often be performed using minimally invasive technique. Your surgeon may recommend you for physical therapy to strengthen your muscles, improve flexibility, and improve the movements of the bones and joints.
Severe pain in shoulders while playing your favorite sports such as tennis, basketball and gymnastics may be because of torn ligaments or shoulder dislocation. These may be caused by overuse of shoulder while playing sports or acute injury. Some injuries may be treated with conservative treatment including immobilization or physical therapy, and others injuries may require surgical treatment.
Ligament or tendon tears, labral tear and snapping hip are some of the common sports injuries affecting the hip. The hip joint bears more weight and is more susceptible for injuries while playing sports. Often individual anatomy predisposes an athlete to injury. Some hip injuries may require surgical intervention to avoid further complications. Rehabilitation programs including injection and/or physical therapy are often recommended to strengthen the muscles and improve the movements, even if surgery is a consideration.
Foot and ankle Injuries
Foot and ankle injuries include the injuries in the leg below the knee and they are common while playing sports such as football, basketball, soccer and other sports with frequent cutting or pivoting. Treatment for some of these conditions may be orthotics, braces, physical therapy, injections or surgery. Common sports injuries include sprains and strains, ankle fractures, and Achilles tendinitis.
Sports Medicine Topics
Click on the topics below to find out more from the orthopedic connection website of American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.