Sports Injury FAQs

What is meant by sports injury?

Sports injury means any injury to the musculoskeletal system that is the bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles of the body that happens due to sporting activities. At the same time, such injuries that happen due to daily activities are also dealt in the same way as sports injuries and can be classified in the same. These include the sprain or injury to the ligaments, tearing of the tendons or muscles or injury to the joint.

How are sports injuries treated?

Subtle injuries like low grade sprains or contusions or bruises are usually treated with rest, ice, compression and elevation along with anti-inflammatory medications, moderate or severe injuries like high grade sprains or rupture of the ligament or tendon or muscle or fractures or injury to the joints are usually treated under supervision of sports physicians by specialized methods with or without need for invasive procedures and surgeries.

How do you prevent sport injuries?

Sport injuries can be avoided or prevented by following a good regimen of stretching and strengthening of the muscles and the joints of the body prior to the sporting event. This requires a sports rehabilitation and training under supervision of the athletic trainer and coaches. Player should also wear appropriate safety gears for the game. They are also provided with strategies to prevent injuries by their athletic trainer or coaches. Appropriate level of health and nutrition is required to avoid and prevent sport injuries.

What are the different types of sport injuries?

Sports injury can involve injury to the muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones or joints. These may be graded from mild to severe according to the amount of involvement. Subtle sport injuries can be treated under supervision of the athletic trainer and with over-the-counter medications along with physical modalities. Severe form of injuries may require medical attention and supervision of a sports physician.

What are the most common injuries in children?

Children have more resilience to injuries and usually have milder form of injuries. Fractures are relatively uncommon in younger population. They may suffer from sprain of the ligament or strain of the muscles or tendon. Children are at high risk of injuries due to their growth plate and may have growth plate injuries or injuries specific to kids like osteochondritis dissecans.

What is a soft tissue injury?

Soft tissue injury contrary to bony injury includes injury to the muscles, tendons or ligaments. They can be graded from mild to severe. Most of the time the soft tissue injuries can be treated by conservative means. Occasionally they may require surgical treatment for high grade injuries.

What is an overuse injury in sport?

Overuse injuries are injuries caused due to over utilization of a specific joint or extremity beyond the limit of a specific person at their level of sport. These injuries are usually vgue and do not have specific structural involvement. These injuries are usually treated with rest and limitation of activity as well as modification of involvement in sports. If not relieved further investigations including imaging like MRI may be needed to found the cause of pain.

What is an acute injury?

An acute injury contrary to the chronic injury are injuries that are usually caused by specific events like fall or hit or an accident. They present immediately or within a few hours after the injury with symptoms like pain, swelling, limitation of movement.

What is ankle sprain?

An ankle sprain means injury to the ligament of the ankle which can be present commonly on the inner or outer aspect of the ankle. It is usually caused by twisting of the ankle while any sporting activities or even walking or running. They can be graded from mild to severe and may be treated with rest or a need for brace or boot. Occasionally, a sprain may be severe enough causing instability of the ankle and requiring surgical management for treatment and re-establishment of the stability of the ankle joint.

What is indirect trauma?

Indirect trauma as oppose to a direct trauma means injury to a specific area of the body while the body is either hit at a different area or is involved in an impact at a different area like twisting of the leg causing injury to the knee.

What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?

Sprain usually means injury to the ligament while strain usually means injury to the tendon or the muscle. Both can be treated with conservative means in cases of mild-to-moderate involvement. If the involvement is severe or high grade, then either of the two may require physician supervision and a possible surgical intervention.

What is meant by microtrauma?

Microtrauma as opposed to macrotrauma usually means injury or insult caused due to repetitive movement or activity causing small injury every time which over time may present as a major involvement. Microtears in ligament or muscle or tendon or cartilage may heal by itself if allowed to rest or improve over time. Elevation as well as splinting and use of cold/het with anti-inflammatory medications may help in rapid resolution of these tears.

How do muscles tear?

Muscles usually tear due to overloading of the muscle which can be sudden or acute or on a long-term basis of chronic muscle tear can be partial or complete. Low grade tears are usually treated with conservative means but high grade or complete muscle tears may require surgical intervention.

Can a muscle tear heal on its own?

Low grade muscle tear can heal themselves if allowed appropriate rest with or without bracing and with use of anti-inflammatory medications.

How long does it take for a soft tissue injury to heal?

Soft tissue injury depending on the severity may take two to six weeks to heal completely. The patients who are involved in sporting activities may require specific rehabilitation with a physical therapist or athletic trainer to recover completely and return to their preinjury level of play.

Can soft tissue injuries be permanent?

Soft tissue injuries usually heal well and completely if treated appropriately. If the soft tissue injuries are neglected or if they are of high grade requiring invasive procedure, then occasionally the results may not be good enough to cause permanent resolution of soft tissue injuries.

What is a grade 1 ankle sprain?

Ankle sprains are usually graded from 1, 2, 3 depending on the severity of the ankle sprain. Grade 1 sprain is partial low grade sprain involving a few fibers of the ligament. These are usually treated with conservative needs with or without requirement for a boot to provide rest. The patients are asked to avoid activities that may worsen the symptoms.

How do you know when your ankle is fractured?

Ankle fracture usually requires high energy trauma which may be in the form of twisting of the ankle or fall. These patients will usually have acute onset of pain and swelling. They may also be unable to bear weight on the involved ankle and may be limping. A physical examination by medical personnel may be suggestive of a fracture. Diagnosis is confirmed with radiological examination in the form of x-rays or occasionally a CT or MRI.

Can you walk with a sprained ankle?

The patients with low grade sprain can usually walk either with the help of brace or compression sleeve. Moderate sprains may require a boot for management of the sprained ankle and the patients can still bear weight on them.

Can you still walk with a broken ankle?

If the fracture around the ankle involves a smaller bone or a chip, the patient may be able to walk and bearing weight though with discomfort. These patients are usually treated either in a boot or surgically to gain complete healing and resolution of the symptoms.

How long does it take for a grade 2 sprained ankle to heal?

Grade 2 sprained ankle or a moderate sprain of the ankle may take up to six to eight weeks to heal completely. These patients are usually treated in boot along with rest and anti-inflammatory medications. Later in the treatment period these patients can be involved in physical therapy and rehabilitation program to recover full range of motion as well as strength around the ankle.

How do you treat a ligament injury?

A ligament injury, if partial, is usually treated with RICE protocol (rest, ice, elevation, and compression) along with anti-inflammatory medication. If the ligament is near complete or complete, then the patient may need repair or reconstructive surgery for the ligament to regain stability of the joint.

Which muscle allows flexion in the elbow?

There are multiple muscles that allow flexion at the elbow. The most important of all these is the biceps. The other two important muscles that help in flexion of the elbow are brachialis and brachioradialis.

Which muscle extends the arm of the elbow?

The major muscle that help in extension of the arm at the elbow is the triceps muscles. Another small muscles called Anconeus also helps in the extension of the elbow.

Why is a dislocated elbow a medical emergency?

A dislocated elbow, like most other joint dislocations is a medical emergency because it needs to be reduced to decrease the pressure of the dislocated bones on the surrounding nerves and vessels as well as to maintain the blood supply to the bones of the joint itself. Injury to nerve and vessels around the elbow may lead to temporary or permanent deficit.

How do you treat olecranon bursitis?

Olecranon bursitis is initially treated with RICE protocol (rest, ice, compression and elevation), along with anti-inflammatory medications. If infection is ruled out, a cortisone injection can also be given to help decrease pain and swelling. If the patient does not improve with conservative measures, a surgical treatment may be required for the treatment of olecranon bursitis.

What causes cubital tunnel syndrome?

Cubital tunnel is present on the inner side of the elbow and the ulnar nerve passes through it. Cubital tunnel syndrome can be caused by many reasons, which decrease the space provided to the ulnar nerve. This can be caused due to injury, fracture, dislocation of the elbow, repetitive stress, increase in soft tissue due to multiple reasons, hence causing compression of the ulnar nerve.

What are the symptoms of ulnar nerve entrapment?

Ulnar nerve entrapment causes compression of the ulnar nerve, and hence will present with tingling and numbness in the forearm and hand, especially on the inner side of the hand. It may also present with pain in the elbow as well as weakness of the fingers. Long standing cases may have atrophy of hand muscles along with weakness.

What do you do when your elbow/knee hurts?

A person can take anti-inflammatory as well as use ice or heat along with rest to decrease the pain in the elbow. If the pain is not relieved with all these measures, then the person should seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and management.

What does it feel like to have fibromyalgia?

Patients with fibromyalgia usually have pain at multiple sites in their body, especially in their back and other joints. They also have multiple knots under the skin over the area of pain, especially over the back. These patients may also be suffering from joint pain and swelling.

I am Vedant Vaksha, Fellowship trained Spine, Sports and Arthroscopic Surgeon at Complete Orthopedics. I take care of patients with ailments of the neck, back, shoulder, knee, elbow and ankle. I personally approve this content, and have written most of it myself.