Impact of Sports Injuries on Athletes: Types, Treatment, and Prevention

Estimated read time 6 min read

As the sports participation rate increases, so does the occurrence related to sports injuries. In any sport, injuries happen every day. Sometimes, they happen by chance, and sometimes, they are intentional. And sometimes, even, it is difficult to find out why they happen.

But you can realize there are such frequent patterns; if there are patterns, there are opportunities to reduce the risk of injuries.

Connect with 1st Choice Sports Rehab, a trusted sports injury treatment center in Decatur, if you are looking for effective sports injury treatment to get back in the game quickly.


What constitutes a sports injury?

A sports injury can be defined as any stress on the body that prevents the organism from functioning correctly and results in the body taking over to repair it. It is when any injury, pain or physical damage is due to sports, exercise and physical activity.

Sports injury occurs when a person sustains injury because of sport. It is the most common injury that affects our musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage and associated tissues.

More severe injuries such as neck, head or cord trauma are usually associated with sprains, fractures and contusions.


What is affected by a sports injury?

Sports injuries are commonly associated with the muscular-skeletal system, including muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and even the nervous system. Here are some common areas and structures that can be affected by sports injuries:

Muscles: Sports injuries frequently involve muscle strains, which occur when muscles are stretched or torn due to overuse, improper warm-up, or sudden movements. Common muscle injuries include hamstring strains, quadriceps strains, and calf strains.

Bones: Bone fractures or breaks can occur during sports activities, particularly in high-impact sports or due to traumatic accidents. Fractures can affect various bones, such as the arms, legs, wrists, and collarbones.

Joints: Joints are susceptible to injuries like sprains and dislocations. A joint sprain involves the stretching or tearing of ligaments that stabilize the joint, while a dislocation occurs when the bones within a joint are forced out of their normal alignment.

Ligaments: Ligaments are strong tissue that connect bone to bone for joint stability. Sports injuries can result in ligament sprains or tears, often affecting the knees (e.g., ACL or MCL tears) and ankles (e.g., lateral ankle sprains).

Tendons: Tendons connect muscles to bones and are prone to overuse injuries, such as tendonitis. Conditions like Achilles tendonitis or tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) can occur in sports that involve repetitive motions.

Nervous System: Although less common, sports injuries can also affect the nervous system. A concussion is a well-known example, resulting from a blow to the head or sudden jarring of the head, often in contact sports.

Soft Tissue: Soft tissue injuries encompass a range of issues, including bruises (contusions), cuts, abrasions, and injuries to the skin and underlying tissues. These injuries can result from direct impact or friction during sports activities.

Cartilage: Damage to cartilage, which cushions and protects joints, can occur in sports injuries. Conditions like meniscus tears in the knee are examples of cartilage injuries that can lead to pain and limited joint mobility.

Spine: High-impact sports or activities that involve twisting and turning can lead to injuries in the spine. These injuries may affect the vertebrae, discs, or spinal cord.


Types of sports injuries:

Sports injuries vary in their symptoms and complications, and the most frequently encountered types include:

Sprains: The most common reason for sprains is overstretching and tearing of the ligament, which results in a sprain. Ligaments are made of tissues that link two bones at a joint.

Strains: Any sprain results from the overstretching or tearing of muscles or tendons. These tendons are thick, fibrous cords that connect the muscle to bone.

Knee Injuries: Any condition that disrupts the normal movement of the knee joints can be classified as a sports injury. These injuries range from mild overstretching to more severe muscle or tissue tears in the knee region.

Swollen Muscles: It is natural for the affected area to swell as part of the body’s response following any injury. Swollen muscles cause discomfort and also result in weakness.

Achilles Tendon Rupture: The Achilles tendon, a thin but strong tendon at the rear of the ankle, can rupture during sports activities. Individuals typically experience sudden and intense pain and difficulty walking when this happens.

Fractures: We commonly know bone fractures or as broken bones. It occurs when the structural integrity of a bone is compromised.

Dislocations: Dislocations are when a bone dislocates from its position. When it happens, that bone goes out of its socket and causes considerable discomfort, swelling, and muscle weakness.

Rotator Cuff Injury: The rotator cuff comprises four muscle components. It makes the shoulder to move in various directions. Any tear in these muscles can lead to a weakening of the entire rotator cuff.

Sports injuries treatment:

The most common method used to treat sports injuries is called RICE. It stands for

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

This treatment is effective for mild sports injuries. Following the RICE during the first 24 to 36 hours after the injury is best. It helps to reduce swelling and prevent additional pain after any sports injury.

A sports doctor or chiropractor can prescribe over-the-counter medications to treat sports injuries and lessen pain and swelling.

If your sports injury is less severe, you can visit your doctor. However, if the condition is severe, then you need to seek energy care for the following reasons:

  • instability
  • severe swelling and pain
  • popping or crunching sounds when you use the joint
  • visible lumps, bumps, or other deformities
  • weakness or inability to put weight on the joint

Serious injuries can often require surgery followed by physical therapy. You must see your doctor if your injury does not heal within two weeks.


How to prevent sports injuries? 

Any individual who participates in sports or physical activity can take measures to reduce the likelihood of getting injured.

Proper training and safety precautions can significantly reduce the risk of sports-related injuries. Warm-up is the most undervalued method for preventing sports injuries. Some athletes spend over twenty minutes warming up, and some might like 30 to 45 minutes.

Proper safety gear, such as supporting shoes, helps you keep safe while in motion. You should also wear other safety gear, such as padding, helmets and gloves, even if you are safer without them.

Even though, if you do a proper warm-up, you still can be at risk of getting injured. It does not matter how many precautions you take if you ignore your body and take it seriously when in pain.

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