It can be scary for athletes to sustain injuries, but they are quite common. An estimated 2 million high school athletes sustain injuries each year. It can sometimes be hard to tell when a sports injury requires immediate attention and when it is best to wait and see.
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Troy Smurawa M.D. is the Director of Pediatric Sports Medicine at Children’s Health(sm), Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. He provides valuable insight on acute sports injuries and when it is best to seek treatment.
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A sports injury is a serious condition that can be caused by a fall, hit, or other trauma.
Dr. Smurawa says that it is caused by a specific movement, motion or activity. For example, a player twisting their ankle while playing basketball or being hit while playing football. It can also occur when an athlete twists or lands on a joint.
Acute sports injuries are not only linked to a particular time or place.
- Constant pain
- Function loss is significant
Chronic injuries often result from repetitive motion or overuse in sports, such as pitchers throwing repeatedly.
Tendinitis and pain in the shoulder can be caused by running’s repetitive wear and tear on the knees and shins.
Dr. Smurawa says that a chronic sports injury is often caused by ongoing stress to the musculoskeletal system. These injuries are more common among high school athletes who participate in sports such as swimming or baseball.
Overuse injuries can cause pain that is worse during activities, but it may ease during rest or when the area isn’t being used.Read Also : WPC2027
Athletes’ age can determine the severity of acute sports injuries.
Dr. Smurawa says that younger athletes, particularly those below 12 years old, are more susceptible to injuries to their bones, especially the growth plates. “Athletes older than 12 years old have stronger bones, which means we see more ligament and joint injuries, such as sprains or ACL tears.
Fractures are the most common form of sports injury in children under 12 years old. Most fractures are in the:
Although it is difficult to determine if your child has a broken bone, it is worth getting them checked if they refuse to put any weight on it or use it for daily activities. Most fractures can be treated easily. You should contact an emergency room if your child is suffering from a fracture.
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Acute injuries are the most common among older athletes.
- Ankle fractures
- Ankle sprains
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury
- Collar bone dislocations
- Dislocations of the kneecap
- Dislocations of the shoulder
Acute sports injuries can be treated in a variety of ways depending on the severity and type of injury.
Dr. Smurawa says that the first thing you should do after an injury is sustained is to stop the athlete from playing in order to let someone examine the injury. “A minor acute injury will only cause pain that subsides in a matter of minutes. Serious injuries can cause more severe and long-lasting pain.
RICE is often the first line of treatment for minor, acute sports injuries.
- Relax the injury
- Ice the injury 20 minutes per hour
- Wrap the injury with an ace bandage to reduce swelling or immobilize it with a splint
- To reduce blood flow and swelling, elevate the injury high above the heart