Keeping yourself in good physical shape is essential to your overall wellbeing, and participating in sports is a great way to accomplish this task. Whether you’re playing a recreational sport or you are part of a competitive league, certain injuries are common to those who participate in sporting activities. Knee injuries, sprains and strains, and fractures and dislocations are amongst the most prevalent, and we’ve discussed these in more detail below in today’s post.
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Several bones, ligaments, and muscles make up our knees, and as a significant joint in our body, it is very susceptible to injury. There are four main ligaments in the knee that bear the brunt of most injuries, and they are the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and the lateral and medial collateral ligaments (LCL and MCL). Common and acute sports-related injuries to these ligaments include:
- Runner’s knee — Damage to the cartilage under the kneecap. Symptoms include pain while going up or down stairs, squatting, kneeling, or performing similar activities. Trauma to the kneecap or cartilage irritation can cause this injury.
- Patellar tendonitis — Damage to the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap to the shin. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and stiffness in the knee. This injury commonly results from overuse and stress of the tendon.
- Torn ACL — Damage to the ACL tendon, which connects the femur to the shinbone. Symptoms include instability, swelling, and potentially intense pain. Sudden twisting movements can cause this type of injury.
- Bursitis — Inflammation of the bursa, a small fluid-filled sac, near your knee joint. Symptoms include swelling, pain, and warmth. This injury often occurs from overuse of the knee joint.
If you suspect that you have injured your knee, it is crucial to seek proper medical attention as soon as possible.
Strains and Sprains
These types of injuries can occur in essentially any situation, and they are likely the most common among sport-related injuries that people suffer. Although they sound very similar, strains and sprains are not the same things:
- Strains result from overstretched or torn muscle fibers or tendons, ranging in severity. This injury may also be referred to as a “pulled muscle.”
- Sprains result from an overstretched or torn ligament, also ranging in severity. Knees, wrists, and ankles are the most commonly sprained joints.
Depending on the severity of your strain or sprain, you may or may not need to seek medical attention. If you’re wondering what to do for muscle pain resulting from minor strains and sprains, remember the old RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) technique. Massage and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories can also help provide relief.
Fractures and Dislocations
Perhaps the most severe sports-related injuries, fractures, and dislocations are acute injuries that are sure to put you on the sidelines.
- Fracture — More commonly known as a broken bone, this type of injury may take on various forms. Stress fractures can occur from repeated stress on a bone, and athletes who participate in sports that involve a lot of running or jumping are at a higher risk of developing this type of fracture. Other types of acute, sudden fractures include oblique, comminuted, spiral, and compound fractures.
- Dislocation — When bones in a joint are forced out of alignment, a dislocation occurs. This type of injury is common in contact sports and frequently results in damage to the connective tissue surrounding the joint. Like fractures, dislocations require medical treatment to ensure the bone is returned to its normal position for optimal healing.
Arms, legs, and noses frequently suffer fractures during sporting events, especially in sports like football and boxing. Hands, fingers, and shoulders are more likely than any other joint to become dislocated. If you or a teammate suffer one of these serious injuries, it is wise to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
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