Sports injuries are injuries that occur when engaging in sports or exercise. Sports injuries can occur due to overtraining, lack of conditioning, and improper form or technique. Most sports injuries are due to either trauma or overuse of muscles or joints.
The majority are caused by minor trauma involving muscles, ligaments, tendons, or bones, including:
- Contusions (bruises)
Who is at risk?
Anyone may find themselves coping with a sports injury, but some factors that may put you at an increased risk for injury include:
- Childhood – Children are more active and often don’t know their physical limits. That means they may push themselves to injury more easily than adults or teenagers.
- Age – The older you grow, the more likely you are to experience an injury. Age also increases the odds that you have sports injuries that linger. New injuries may also aggravate any previous injuries.
- Lack of care – Sometimes, serious injuries start off as small ones. If they’re left untreated or ignored, they can develop into a serious injury.
- Being overweight – Carrying around extra weight can put unnecessary stress on your joints, including your hips, knees, and ankles. The pressure is magnified with exercise or sports.
- Not being regularly active
- Not warming up properly before exercise
- Playing contact sports
A rehabilitation program for sports injuries is designed to meet the needs of the individual patient, depending on the type and severity of the injury. Active involvement of the patient and often the family is vital to the success of the program.
The goal of rehabilitation is to help the patient return to the highest level of function possible, while improving the overall quality of life – physically, emotionally, and socially.
In order to help reach these goals, sports injury rehabilitation programs may include the following:
Exercise programs to stretch and strengthen the area
Conditioning exercises to help prevent further injury
Heat or cold applications and whirlpool treatments
Applications of braces, splints, or casts to immobilize the area
Use of crutches or wheelchairs
Pain management techniques
Patient and family education