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Treatment and Prevention of Sport Injuries

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What is sport injuries | Avant Orthopaedics

What is a Sports Injury?

At Avant Orthopaedics, we always encourage our patients to be active in sports to keep themselves in shape. However, without proper warm up, techniques, or equipment, injuries from sports activities can occur. Most of them are caused by over-exertion and trauma, usually involving muscles, ligaments and joints. Before we delve into the types of sports injuries, it’s essential to note they fall into two categories: acute and chronic.

An acute sports injury is one that happens suddenly and is usually caused by trauma. This can take the form of a bad fall causing a bone to fracture, or sudden twist of the joints or tendons. Sprains and dislocations are examples of common acute injuries. They are also associated with severe pain as well as noticeable symptoms such as swelling and bruising.

In contrast to acute injuries, chronic sports injuries are gradual and have persisted over a long time. They are caused by constant overuse, and repetitive strains on certain muscles, tendons, ligaments, or joints, leading to prolonged pain and discomfort. While acute injuries might result from one incident, chronic injuries develop over time from consistent stress and strain in sports or physical activities.

If you notice any of these signs, we recommend reaching out to our specialists at Avant Orthopaedics for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Who Commonly Gets Sports Injuries?

A common misconception is that athletes are the ones who are most commonly diagnosed with sports injuries. While it is true that they are certainly at a higher risk, due to the physical demands of their activities, injuries from sports activities can affect a wide range of individuals. An example of this are individuals who work in professions that involve repetitive movements as well as physical exertion. As these occupations may require the lifting of heavy equipment, working at heights, or being on their feet for long hours, they might be at an increased risk of developing such injuries.

Surprisingly sedentary individuals are also prone to developing such injuries. While some may think that if you were to lack participation in sports or physical activities, your risk of developing these injuries will be much lower, we are here to say that it is a myth. For these individuals, their bodies are not properly conditioned or prepared for such activities, and this lack of preparation can lead to an increased vulnerability to sports injuries.

Another common category of individuals who are prone to sports injuries are children and adolescents. A reason is that their bodies are still growing and developing, with their tendons, muscles, bones, and joints not fully matured, making them more prone to injuries. Another possible reason is that they were using equipment that are suited for adults rather than adolescents, leading to improper form and increased injury risk.

What are the Common Types of Sports injuries?

Injuries from sports activities cover a broad spectrum of conditions, and each type can vary in intensity and recovery time. They can also affect several different parts of the body, including muscles, ligaments, bones, tendons, and joints. Let’s take a closer look at the different parts of our body and the injuries that can occur in each area.

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Rotator Cuff Tendinitis/ Tear

This is a common injury affecting the shoulder, and caused by repetitive overhead motions, or a constant need to reach upward, such as basketball or swimming. It is a gradual process which may lead to the complete detachment of the tendon from the bone (complete full thickness tear), when proper treatment is delayed.

Shoulder Impingement

Overuse or constant repetitive movements may cause shoulder impingement, where a tendon may rub against nearby tissue or bones in your arm. This condition can lead to rotator cuff tendonitis.

Shoulder Dislocation

A dislocated shoulder is where the upper arm bone is detached from the cup shaped socket. As the shoulder is flexible with the ability to move in several different directions, this injury is common. It can also be  commonly seen in contact sports such as rugby and hockey. This is usually caused by falls or an extreme force twisting the shoulder joint.

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Tennis Elbow

Despite its name, tennis elbow does not only affect tennis players. It is caused by repetitive overuse of your wrist and elbow, as well as repeated gripping and squeezing an object. Often called 'mouse elbow', it arises from long hours at non-ergonomic workstations, leading to wrist muscle contraction and pain in the outer elbow. As the muscle in your tendons weaken, it will have signs of wear and tear, causing inflammation and pain.

Golfer’s Elbow

While Tennis Elbow affects the outer part of the elbow, Golfer’s Elbow affects the inner part of it. This
condition is not only limited to golfers as anyone who constantly squeezes their fingers and uses their wrist, has a risk of developing it. Activities that require constant twisting and throwing, such as yard work and repetitive use of a keyboard and mouse can cause this condition too.

Ulnar Collateral Ligament Injury

This is an inner elbow injury which is also known as a basketball pitcher’s injury. The Ulnar Collateral Ligament is a band of tendon that keeps your elbow stable when you reach your arms up and perform actions such as throwing or pitching. Ulnar Collateral Impingement can either be caused by repetitive movement or a falling on your outstretched arm.

Little League Elbow

Little League elbow refers to injuries sustained by a young athlete to their elbow’s tendons, ligaments, and/or bones. Constantly performing fast and powerful motions such as throwing a ball in basketball and softball can put stress on the bones and muscles of the elbow, specifically on the inner side where a growth plate is still developing.

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Ankle Sprain

Athletes who are involved in sports that involve quick and sudden changes of directions have a higher risk of developing ankle sprain. This condition is caused when the ligaments around the ankle are stretched or torn, due to it being twisted or turned in an unnatural way. Ankle sprains are also graded based on their severity, with mild sprains (Grade 1) involve only slight stretching and pain, while severe sprains (Grade 3)involve complete tearing of the ligaments.

Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles Tendon is a thick band of tissue that connects your calf muscles to the heel bone, and plays a
key role when it comes to movements like running and jumping. When an individual engages in a sport or activity that involves repetitive movements, sudden strain, or unexpected changes in intensity, the achilles tendon can become strained from overuse, leading to inflammation and tears.

Patellar Tendinosis

Patellar Tendinosis is also known as the jumper’s knee, and happens when the patellar tendon which connects the kneecap bone to the tibia becomes inflamed. This condition can often be seen in individuals who frequently participate in activities that require repeated jumping, running, or sudden changes in direction. It typically develops over time as the athlete who puts repeated stress on their tendon develops minor tears in them which build up over time.

Patellar Tendon Tear

Often referred to as a ruptured patellar tendon, this injury happens when the tendon that connects your kneecap to the shinbone completely or partially tears. It can occur when you forcefully overextend the knee, or subject it to excessive stress, such as high impact activities or sudden movements.

Runner’s Knee

Runner’s Knee isn’t a specific condition nor does it only affect runners. It describes the dull pain you feel when you have one of the several knee conditions. This condition happens when the kneecap does not move smoothly in its groove when you bend or straighten your knee. It can be caused by several factors, including overuses, improper footwear, trauma, and muscle imbalances.

Dislocation

A dislocated knee may be easily confused with a dislocated kneecap. The former does not only involve the kneecap, but also affects the tibia and femur as they become separated. This condition is generally caused by trauma such as severe twisting or direct contact.

Shin Splints

Also known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, shin splints are prevalent in athletes that are involved in high impact activities such as running, jumping, as well as sports that require repetitive leg movements. This condition develops through the overuse of muscles, tendons, and connective tissues which surrounds the shinbone.

Plantar Fasciitis

Osteopathist Treating Patient His Feet | Avant Orthopaedics

This condition primarily affects the plantar fascia, a thick band of tendon that runs along the bottom of the feet, connecting the heel bone to the toes. Not only athletes are susceptible to this, as any individuals who continually put stress on their feet. The repeated strain may lead to small tears and inflammation on the plantar fascia, causing symptoms such as swelling and heel pain.

What are the Treatments Available for Sports Injuries?

There is a wide variety of surgical and non-surgical treatments available for sports injuries. Listed below are some common treatment options for such injuries:

What are the Non-Surgical Treatments Available?

This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, which is a widely used protocol when it comes to treating minor sports injuries. It involves resting to allow the body to heal, abstaining from strenuous physical activities, applying ice to the affected area to reduce swelling and inflammation, while lastly elevating the injured site to reduce swelling.

A physical therapist can customise a treatment plan which involves a range of interventions to promote recovery and address sports injuries. It can involve stretching as well as exercises to help the patient regain their range of mobility as well as strength in the affected area.

Medications may be prescribed as part of the treatment plan to manage pain, relieve inflammation, and promote healing. However, be sure to not self medicate and only take them under the supervision and instructions of a doctor.

This is a treatment that involves the usage of slings, braces, splints, casts, or other forms of support. It restricts the movement of an injured body part and helps stabilise the affected area while preventing excessive movement or strain.

What are the Surgical Treatments Available?

Arthroscopy is a common surgical approach, and is a minimally invasive surgical procedure where a small camera is used to diagnose and treat joint injuries and conditions. This technique offers advantages such as small incision, quicker recovery time, and reduced scarring.

Open surgery involves directly accessing and repairing damaged tissues, often used for complex or severe injuries. It is commonly performed on conditions such as complex fractures, significant joint dislocation, and extensive soft tissue injuries, where arthroscopy is not viable. This procedure provides doctors with a comprehensive view and greater access to the targeted area, allowing for more extensive repair and reconstruction.

 Joint replacement is a specialised surgical approach employed when joint damage is extensive and non-surgical treatments are no longer effective in alleviating pain. During the procedure, damaged joints are removed and replaced with artificial components. This surgery can significantly reduce pain, improve joint function, and enhance the quality of life for those suffering from severe joint conditions.

What are the Precautions I Should Take with a Sports Injury?

For those with injuries from sports activity, we recommend avoiding HARM. As RICE is a common protocol to follow after an incident, HARM represents four factors to avoid in order to maximise healing and recovery.

Heat will encourage blood flow which may worsen swelling and inflammation. This includes hot  baths, saunas, and heat packs.

Avoid consuming alcohol as it interferes with the body’s natural healing process, as well as, potentially increasing inflammation.

Engaging in physical activity, especially after suffering a sports injury can worsen the injury and lead to an increase in blood flow.

While massage can be beneficial to certain types of injuries, having it applied too early or too vigorously may do more harm than good. If you are keen on incorporating massages into your treatment plan, we recommend consulting your doctor for guidance.

When Should You Seek Professional Help?

While RICE is widely used when it comes to injuries from sports activities, seeking medical attention is crucial in various situations. Here are some signs where you should immediately visit a doctor:

An immediate professional evaluation can improve treatment outcomes and prevent complications, as well as promote proper healing.

Are you or a Loved One Suffering from Sports Injuries?

If you or a loved one are suffering due to injuries from sports activities, come book an appointment with us at Avant Orthopaedics to receive a personalised consultation and recommendations for the best suited treatment.

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