Sports Injuries

Sports Injuries are injuries that occur in athletic activities which can result from acute trauma, or from overuse of a particular body part. Although injuries are more commonly know to occur when taking part in contact sports it can also happen when you are exercising. A generally physically active person or someone who frequently exercises as well as those who take part in sports activities such as football can unfortunately end up suffering from injuries so this may apply to you or anyone you know that is an active person.

Risk of injury can be reduced by completing an effective warm up consisting of a heart raiser to get your pulse up, followed by sport specific dynamic stretches (stretches whilst moving) but sometimes injuries may still occur so here are some methods in how to identifying sports injuries and what treatment methods to use.

STRAIN

A strain is a common injury which occurs when a muscle/tendon twists, pulls or tears. This is often caused by overusing, forcing or stretching muscles and there are different signs and severities of strains you can identify to know how serious the injury is;

  • 1st strain signs – Mild pain, little swelling, some muscle stiffness
  • 2nd strain signs – Moderate to severe pain, swelling and stiffness
  • 3rd strain signs – Loss of function, severe pain and swelling
  • 1st strain symptoms – Few muscle fibre are torn
  • 2nd strain symptoms – Minimal to moderate tearing of muscle fibres
  • 3rd strain symptoms – Total rupture of the muscle

All these types of strains have treatments that need to be carried out safely to prevent further injuries. The S.A.L.T.A.P.S procedure is suitable to use for a sprain as it is the fastest and safest method to check the persons condition.

S – See the injury occur and how it has occurred and also stops the field of play

A – Ask the casualty what is wrong and where the pain is

L – Look for signs of bleeding, deformation of limbs, inflammation, swelling and redness

T – Touch the injury or close to the injury (gently) for signs of heat, tenderness, loss or change of sensations and pain

A – Active movement, ask the casualty to try to move the injured area. If they can move through the full range of movement move them to a safe place to continue

P – Passive movement, try to move the injured site only if there is a full range of Movement

S – Strength, is all the above steps have been achieved with no pain use resisted movement to asses loss of function

Cryotherapy (cold treatment) would be the most effective treatment to use. This is the local or general use of low temperatures in medical therapy and involves putting ice on the inflamed or swollen area. This will help with reducing pain and swelling. For a sprain, it’s not recommend using thermotherapy (which is using heat on the injured site), this is because heat will make the injury more inflamed and will add more pain whereas cryotherapy will help to numb the nerves in the area to reduce pain.

SPRAIN

A Sprain is another common injury which occurs when a ligament is stretched or torn and knocks the joint in the effective area out of place, this is caused by a trauma.

Like with strains there are different signs and severities of sprains you can identify such as;

  • 1st Sprain signs – Mild pain and swelling
  • 2nd Sprain signs – Moderate to severe pain, swelling and stiffness, moderate joint instability
  • 3rd Sprain signs – Severe pain and swelling, gross joint instability
  • 1st sprain symptoms – Microscopic tearing of collagen fibres
  • 2nd sprain symptoms – Complete tears of ‘some’ collagen and ligament fibres
  • 3rd sprain symptoms – Total rupture of the ligament

Sprains also have treatments that can be carried to prevent further damaged and the P.R.I.C.E.D procedure is the ideal method to use;

P – Protect using clean / sterile dressing

R – Rest so the individual should spot activity as this could lead to further injury, Delay healing, increase pain and stimulate bleeding

I – Ice should be applied to the injured area

C – Compression should be applied gently to the injured site

E – Elevation should be applied, at least above the level of the hear t to help stop blood flow to the injured area to help prevent further swelling and bruising

D – Diagnosis this should be done by a professional to identify the exact damage

To make the treatment as effective as possible, using a splint is a must as it would restrict the movement and will help prevent further injury and provide protection. When using the splint you should make sure that the straps for the splint are above and below the joint near the injured site and make sure the straps are not too tight to stop blood flow but tight enough to stop movement.

CONCUSSION

A concussion is more serious injury and it occurs when your head as had a heavy collision causing your brain to shake in your head and it has hit your skull. This most likely to occur when taking part in contact sports but also chances of it happening during exercising.

There are a few signs and symptoms of a concussion such as;

  • Confusion, such as being unaware of your surroundings
  • Nausea
  • Loss of balance

When a concussion occurs you will need to take extra precautions and be very cautious, that it’s not just a concussion but also the possibility that some the vertebrates have been damaged as well. Firstly you would want to make sure that the person is lying on their back with their head straight and use a neck brace to preventing them from moving as well as supporting the head and neck, also wrapping ice in a towel and placing it on the injured area will help reduce pain and swelling. In regards to treatment, there isn’t much you can do for a concussion because the injury is primarily internal so you can’t use any first aid equipment, other than to reduce any inflammation or swelling. Depending on the severity of the injury you might have to wear a neck brace to help support the head and neck and to keep it all in line.

To diagnose a concussion, a doctor will examine the site of impact, and will test your strength, balance, reflexes, sensation, and memory. The doctor will ask you and anyone who witnessed the injury about how it occurred and about your behaviour after the injury. A MRI scan will be taken to detect any bruising or swelling of the brain.

FRACTURE

Another more serious injury is a fracture, which is a broken or cracked bone. It can be a hairline crack in a bone, a partial fracture (usually in children) or a complete break and there are 5 different types of fractures;

  • Stress fracture
  • Spiral fracture
  • Comminute fracture
  • Transverse fracture
  • Open compound fracture

These are all different types of fractures with different levels of severalty. They can all be treated in the same way but an open compound fracture you need to do a bit more because this when the broken bone breaks through the skin. As with a sprain using the PRICED procedure and a shin splint is the most effective method.

P – Protect using clean / sterile dressing

R – Rest so the individual should spot activity as this could lead to further injury, Delay healing, increase pain and stimulate bleeding

I – Ice should be applied to the injured area

C – Compression should be applied gently to the injured site

E – Elevation should be applied, at least above the level of the hear to help stop blood flow to the injured area to help prevent further swelling and bruising

D – Diagnosis this should be done by a professional to identify the exact damage

The splint will prevent the broken bone from being moved, keeping it straight is vital to helping the bone heal correctly and not with a bend. Though this is only for the initial treatment as after the diagnosis, they will have to get a case and limb support. In some cases a splint will still be used instead of a cast, for example a broken finger, you will have to wear a splint for 5-6 weeks to keep the finger straight to allow it to heal properly and it will stop the finger from being moved to prevent further injury.

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