Introduction to sports injuries
The term sports injury, in the broadest sense, refers to the kinds of injuries that most commonly occur during sports or exercise. Some sports injuries result from accidents; others are due to:
- poor training practices
- improper equipment
- lack of conditioning
- insufficient warm up and stretching
Although virtually any part of your body can be injured during sports or exercise, the term is usually reserved for injuries that involve the musculoskeletal system, which includes the muscles, bones, and associated tissues like cartilage. Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries are relatively rare during sports or exercise.
Common Types of Sports Injuries
- muscle sprains and strains
- tears of the ligaments that hold joints together
- tears of the tendons that support joints and allow them to move
- dislocated joints
- fractured bones, including vertebrae
Muscle Contusions A bruise, or muscle contusion, can result from a fall or from contact with a hard surface, a piece of equipment, or another player while participating in sports. A bruise results when muscle fiber and connective tissue are crushed; torn blood vessels may cause a bluish appearance. Most bruises are minor, but some can cause more extensive damage and complications.
A sprain is a stretch or tear of a ligament, the band of connective tissues that joins the end of one bone with another. Sprains are caused by trauma such as a fall or blow to the body that knocks a joint out of position and, in the worst case, ruptures the supporting ligaments. Sprains can range from first degree (minimally stretched ligament) to third degree (a complete tear). Areas of the body most vulnerable to sprains are:
Signs of a sprain include
- Varying degrees of tenderness or pain;
- Inability to move a limb or joint; or joint looseness, laxity, or instability.
A strain is a twist, pull, or tear of a muscle or tendon, a cord of tissue connecting muscle to bone. It is an acute, non contact injury that results from overstretching or over contraction. Symptoms of a strain include:
- muscle spasm
- loss of strength
While it's hard to tell the difference between mild and moderate strains, severe strains not treated professionally can cause damage and loss of function.