If you’ve been to the doctor lately it’s likely he or she has recommended getting some exercise to stay healthy. People are exercising today more than ever to reap the health benefits of an active lifestyle. Unfortunately, some people—typically those who overdo it, don’t properly train, don’t effectively or stretch and warm up—these benefits from exercising can result in sports injuries.
The good news is most sports injuries can be effectively diagnosed and treated. It’s also possible for most people who receive proper treatment to return to an active lifestyle, even to pre-injury levels. Many sports injuries can also be prevented when the proper precautions are taken.
What Are Sports Injuries?
The term sports injury, generally, classifies any injury that happens during the course of athletic performance or exercise. Even though you can injure just about any part of your body during physical activity, the term sports injury is frequently used to describe injuries involving the musculoskeletal system: cartilage, tendons, muscles and bones.
Reasons Sports Injuries Happen
Sports Injuries happen for many reasons, these are some of the most common:
- Improper training
- Broken equipment
- Using the wrong equipment
- Lack of athletic conditioning
- Insufficient warmup
- Lack of stretching
Common Sports Injuries
Some of the most common sports injuries:
- Knee Injuries
- Shin Splints
- Achilles Tendon Injuries
- Shoulder Injuries
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Ligament tears
- Tendon tears
- Dislocated joints
- Fractured bones
Acute Sports Injuries and Chronic Sports Injuries
No matter where the injury is on the body, sports injuries can be classified as either acute or chronic.
Acute Sports Injuries
Acute injuries simply are injuries that happen at a specific time. Examples would be a back strain, sprained ankle, or fractured leg. Some signs of an acute injury would be:
- Sudden and severe pain
- Inability for a limb to bear weight
- Extreme tenderness
- Inability to move a joint through its full range of motion
- Excessive weakness of a limb
- Visible deformity from a break or dislocation of a bone
Chronic Sports Injuries
Chronic injuries are cumulative injuries that develop over time.. Some signs of a chronic injury would be:
- aching while at rest after performance
- pain while exercising
What Should I Do if I Have a Sports Injury?
Whether your sports injury is acute or chronic, the “tough it out” and “work through the pain” philosophy is not the best method. If you are experiencing pain from a particular exercise or movement you should stop. Continuing to perform while in pain can make things worse and further any damage.
When to Seek Medical Treatment
Minor injuries can be treated at home. Determining the level of injury is important, if you have any question or concern the best bet is to get checked out by your doctor. Signs you may need to see a health professional are:
- The injury causes severe pain, swelling, or numbness.
- You can’t tolerate any weight on the area.
- The pain or dull ache of an old injury is accompanied by increased swelling or joint abnormality or instability.