It is a common sight in recent years that people of all ages have been taking their health professionals’ advice or searching the Internet to know abour the health benefits of exercising.
More and more people are becoming aggressively health conscious. But for some people — particularly those who overdo or who don’t properly train or warm up — these benefits can come at a price and lead to sports injuries.
Fortunately, most sports injuries can be treated effectively, and most people who suffer injuries can return to a satisfying level of physical activity after an injury. Even better, many sports injuries can be prevented if people take the proper precautions.
As the name indicates, sports injuries are commonly caused due to certain type of sports, according to Dr Narayanaswamy V., Orthopaedic Consultant, KIMS Oman Hospital.
“In this part of the world, sports injuries are common due to football, followed by volleyball and even cricket, which also can cause many injuries. Football commonly causes knee injuries followed by ankle injuries. Shoulder injuries are common with volleyball and cricket, while hand injuries are also very common with cricket,” he said.
Sports injuries are of two types: acute traumatic injuries like fractures, sprains and strains, concussions, and cuts which happen after a blow or force — like getting tackled in football or wiping out while skateboarding. The other type of injury can be categories as ‘overuse injuries’ which includes stress fractures and tendonitis.
These injuries are also called chronic injuries because they happen over time, usually from repetitive training, like running, overhand throwing, or serving a ball in tennis. Overuse injuries can be just as damaging as acute injuries, even though they might not seem serious at first. If they’re not treated, they usually get worse.
What To Do?
Experts say, that if somebody suffers sports injury, he or she should stop playing immediately till he gets examined evaluated and gets fit to play again. If you think you’ve been injured, pull yourself out of the game or stop doing your activity or workout. Let a coach or parent know what happened in case you need to see a doctor.
“One should consult a specialist to evaluate the injury and its severity before playing again. Some people try to test themselves whether they can play, which can damage the joint more.
If one notices severe pain and swelling in any part of the body, the best immediate first aid is putting ice packs and if available to use some sort of brace or splint or support before reaching a specialist. One can seek the advice of a physiotherapist if he or she is available on the spot,” says Dr Narayanaswamy.
And remember, a chiropractor is not a right person to treat sports injuries. The best person is an orthopedic surgeon, one specialised in sports medicine.
The treatment of the sports injuries depend on the type and severity of the injuries. The injuries can vary from as simple as muscle strain or ligament sprain to as severe as dislocation of a joint or fracture of a bone.
In brief the simple injuries like strains or sprains can be treated with initial ice packs followed by some sort of joint supports, analgesics (painkillers) and rest to the part depending on the severity. The treatments for mild injuries may take couple of weeks while the severe injuries 4 to 6 weeks.
People with severe ligament injuries (total or near total tear of the ligaments) may suffer for years if not properly and timely treated. The sad part is that if there is delay in getting treatment for severe ligament injuries, particularly around the ankle one has to suffer for years.
Off late there are advanced techniques in treating the ligament injuries, particularly of the knee by arthroscopy (keyhole surgery) and also the injuries of the shoulder as well. Off course the fractures and dislocations are rare and they have to be treated accordingly, says Dr Narayanaswamy.
One who is overweight, not having good muscles and not keeping fit is at greatest risk, explains Dr Narayanaswamy, adding, “of course people nearing 40s and beyond 40s are at more risk compared to youngsters.”
The common reasons for teens to get injured in sports include not training or playing properly, training too much, not wearing the right footwear, not wearing the right safety equipment, and the rapid growth during puberty.
“One can reduce the risk of injuries by keeping fit with regular exercises, maintaining ideal weight for their height apart from taking proper diet. Please don’t over use or abuse the joint. Most important thing is to do some warm up exercises before you start playing,” says Dr Narayanaswamy.
The best way to deal with sports injuries is to keep them from happening in the first place, says Dr Prasanth, a practising physician at a government hospital. “Think of avoiding injury as just another part of playing by the rulebook. Knowing the rules of the game you’re playing and using the right equipment can go a long way toward preventing injuries,” he said.
Where Injuries Happen:
You can get a sports injury anywhere on your body. Here are some key points to know about common sports injuries.
Head and Neck Injuries
Serious head and neck injuries happen most often in athletes who play contact sports (like football or rugby) or sports with the potential for falling accidents, such as horseback riding and gymnastics. Head injuries include fractures, concussions, contusions (bruises), and hematomas. A hematoma is bleeding or pooling of blood in or around the brain caused by an impact to the head from a fall, forceful shaking of the head, or a blow to the head.
Neck injuries include strains, sprains, fractures, burners, and whiplash, which is an injury to the neck caused by an abrupt jerking motion of the head. Neck injuries are among the most dangerous sports injuries. Never try to move someone who may have a neck injury. A mishandled neck fracture could lead to permanent paralysis or even death. Keep the injured person still with his or her head held straight while someone calls for emergency medical help. If the person is lying on the ground, do not try to move him or her.
Most back injuries are caused by twists or overexertion of back muscles during bending or lifting movements. Back injuries are most common in contact sports like football and ice hockey, or in weightlifting, rowing, golf, figure skating, gymnastics, and dancing.
Hand and Wrist Injuries
Hand, finger, and wrist injuries can happen after things like a fall that forces the hand or fingers backward, or a direct blow. As with other injuries, hand and wrist injuries are most common in contact sports, such as football, lacrosse, and hockey, or in sports like gymnastics, field hockey, rowing, and basketball where the fingers, hands, and wrists are at risk.
Foot and Ankle Injuries
Feet and ankles are particularly vulnerable to injury in sports that involve a lot of running. Another reason for foot injuries is wearing the wrong shoes, especially if someone has flat feet, high arches, or other foot differences.
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