Injuries in sport can affect a variety of musculoskeletal structures such as muscles, ligaments and bones. An injury may be categorized as being either an acute injury depending on the mechanism of injury and the onset of symptoms.
Acute injuries generally occur from a direct blow because of external contact from another player or equipment or intrinsically, such as a muscle tear or ligament sprain (spraining your ankle in an awkward footfall). Some of the more common acute sporting injuries we see in practice include ligament injuries (sprains), muscle injuries (tears and strains).
Acute injuries will generally present with pain, swelling, stiffness and in some cases bruising. It is important when you do injure yourself to seek care immediately to help limit further damage and get you on the road to recovery fast.
As a generalized rule, when you suffer an acute injury – we use the RICE method – Rest, apply Ice, Compress the area & Elevate the area.
Chronic injuries usually present themselves as overuse injuries and like acute injuries can be categorized into external factors such as change in training, surfaces, shoes, equipment or intrinsic factors such as age, gender, malalignment, muscle imbalance, muscle weakness, lack of flexibility, or leg length discrepancy.
It is important that appropriate testing is undertaken to diagnose the injury. Treatment options for overuse injuries will usually require addressing the cause of the pain as well as specific additional elements such as activity modification, specific exercises to promote tissue repair, massage, and some anti inflammatory where appropriate.
Treatment for sporting injuries:
Treatment will vary according to the type and severity of the injury. It is important to always seek medical assessment when you undergo an injury. Chiropractic care aims to rehabilitate the injured site and areas surrounding the site to assist in a better functioning body. Returning to sport is always an important factor to consider after an injury, as trying to play before the injury has properly healed can lead to further damage and a lengthier recovery.
How you can Reduce your risk of Injuries in sport:
• Warm up thoroughly by gently going through the motions of your sport and performing slow, sustained stretches.
• Wear appropriate footwear.
• Tape or strap vulnerable joints, if necessary.
• Use the appropriate safety equipment, such as mouth guards, helmets and pads.
• Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after the game.
• Try to avoid exercising in the hottest part of the day, between 11am and 3pm.
• Maintain a good level of overall fitness.
• Cross-train with other sports to ensure overall fitness and muscle strength.
• Don’t exert yourself beyond your level of fitness.
• Use good form and technique.
• Cool down after sport with gentle, sustained stretches.
• Allow adequate recovery time between sessions.
• Have regular checkups with your health care professional