Dr. Art Jordan
Sports related injuries can result from different types of events. Many injuries are caused by trauma that involves muscles, ligaments, tendons, or bones. Some injuries can also come from overuse when the body does not have the proper time to heal. The types of trauma many athletes experience include bone fractures, strains, sprains, dislocations, and contusions.
A fracture is a break in a bone that often is the result of a fall or blow to that area. Fractures can range in severity from a simple fracture to a compound fracture. A compound or open fracture is the most severe, as this is when the bone protrudes through the skin. Treatment for a fracture ranges from rest to realignment and even surgery.
A strain is a tear or pull of a muscle or tendon. The tendons connect the muscles to the bones. These types of injuries can be either acute in nature or result from overuse. Some common sports examples of overuse conditions are runner’s knee, tennis elbow, and shin splints. Pain can indicate potential injury, requiring rest or an evaluation by a medical professional.
A sprain is a tear or a stretch of a ligament. Ligaments connect bones to bones and bones to cartilage along with holding together bones in your joints. You commonly hear of people “spraining their ankle” but sprains can also occur in many other parts of the body such as the knee, elbow, or wrist. Treatment for a sprain can include “RICE,” or, rest, ice, compression and elevation.
A dislocation occurs when force is placed on a joint, forcing the joint “out of place.” Often, dislocations occur during high impact or contact sports such as football. Fingers are often the primary culprit of a dislocation along with the shoulder. An X-ray following a dislocation is recommended to ensure no fracture has occurred.
A contusion or bruise is an injury to the soft tissue within our bodies. Pain, followed by swelling and discoloration are common results of a contusion. Contusions can occur by a blunt force such as a kick or fall. Contusions are very often seen from contact sports such as football and basketball.
To prevent injury, athletes should avoid overuse of muscles and should train properly for each sport. This can mean exercising and training throughout the year and not just during the competitive season. Wearing correctly fitted protective gear and using proper equipment can also aid in preventing injuries. Warming up and cooling down before and after play is important. Pre-game and post-game stretching can keep muscles flexible and also reduce the risk of injury. Paying attention to the foods you eat can prevent injury, too. Include lots of calcium in your diet and ensure you stay hydrated to keep your body and bones strong.
If you experienced a sports injury, are having pain for more than a few hours, or if something feels off in your body, schedule an appointment to be seen by a doctor. The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner you can return to play.
Dr. Art Jordan, a McLeod Sports Medicine and Family Medicine physician, cares for patients at McLeod Orthopaedics in Florence and is accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, call (843) 777-7900.