In the broadest sense, sports injuries refer to those injuries occurring during sports or exercise. Some result from accidents; others arise from poor training practices, the use of the wrong equipment, poor condition of the athlete and/or inadequate stretching and warm-up before participating in sports and exercise.
During sports or exercise, injury can happen to virtually any part of the body. However, the term Sports Injury is normally refers to injury involving the musculoskeletal system, which includes the bones, muscles and associated tissues like cartilage.
The more common Sport Injuries are sprains and strains. A sprain occurs when a ligament, (a band of connective tissue joining one end of one bone to another) is stretched or torn. They are caused by trauma such as a fall that knocks a joint out of position. In the worst case scenario, the supporting ligament is rupture. Sprains can vary from first to third degree. A first degree sprain is a stretching of the ligament, and a third degree sprain is a complete tear. The knees, wrists and ankles are the most vulnerable area for sprains. The common symptoms of a sprain are tenderness, bruising, inflammation and the inability to move the limb or looseness in the joint.
A strain occurs when tendon, a cord of tissue that connects a muscle to a bone, is pulled, twisted or torn. Symptoms of a strain are similar to those of a sprain, and include pain, muscle spasm, and loss of strength.
Due to the difficulty in differentiating between a sprain and a strain, it is essential to consult a health care professional. If a severe strain is not properly treated it could cause further damage.
In the event of a sports injury, it is advisable to consult an orthopaedic surgeon, who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of the musculoskeletal system. Damage to bones, joints, tendons, muscles, ligaments and nerves must the treated as soon as possible to ensure the best possible outcome from the Sports Injury.