Many Sports Injuries Can Be Prevented

Facts about sports injuries:

More than 10 million sports injuries occur each year. Most sports injuries are due to either traumatic injury or overuse of muscles or joints. Many sports injuries can be prevented with proper conditioning and training, wearing appropriate protective gear and using proper equipment.

Sports and soft-tissue injuries:

About 95 percent of sports injuries are due to minor trauma involving soft tissue injuries - injuries that affect the muscles, ligaments, and/or tendons, including:

  • Contusions (bruises)
  • Sprains
  • Strains

What is a contusion?
A contusion (bruise) is an injury to the soft-tissue often produced by a blunt force such as a kick, fall or blow. The result will be pain, swelling and discoloration. Treatment for contusions includes rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E.). More serious contusions may need to be examined by a physician.

What is a sprain?
A sprain is an injury to a ligament and is often caused by a wrench or twist. Sprains often affect the ankles, knees, or wrists. The treatment for a sprain includes rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E.). If the ligament is torn, surgical repair may be necessary.

What is a strain?
A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon, and is often caused by overuse, force or stretching. The treatment for a strain is rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E) If a tear in the muscle occurs, surgical repair may be necessary.

Sports and fractures:
Fractures are breaks in the bone and often are caused by a blow or a fall. A fracture may be classified as a hairline fracture (a thin fracture that may not run through the entire bone), or a compound fracture, in which the broken bone protrudes through the skin. Most fractures occur in the arms and legs. Symptoms may include tenderness over the bone, swelling of the affected area, deformity of the limb and increased pain upon movement.

What are stress fractures?
Stress fractures are weak spots or small cracks in the bone caused by continuous overuse. Stress fractures often occur in the foot after training for basketball, running and other sports. There usually is no swelling, but pain and tenderness often increases during movement.

Treatment for sports injuries:
For severe sports injuries, specific treatment will be determined by the physician(s) based on:

  • Patient's age, overall health and medical history;
  • Extent of the injury;
  • Patient's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies; and
  • Patient's (or family's) opinion or preference.

Initial treatment for many sports injuries includes rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E.). Be sure to consult your physician if there is a prolonged, visible deformity of the affected area or if severe pain prevents use of arm, leg, wrist, ankle or knee.