Sports injuries are difficult to avoid among active children and athletes. These injuries may range from simple wounds and bruises to sprains and broken bones. Although these might be discouraging for some people, sports and physical activities are good for your health. One must just need to be aware of sports-related injuries and how to manage them, as accidents do happen.
Our Musculoskeletal System
The human musculoskeletal system, or the locomotor system, is responsible for our bodies’ abilities to move our muscular and skeletal systems and protects our vital organs. It is made up of connective tissues such as muscles, skeleton, cartilage, joints, tendons, and ligaments that bind other tissues and organs together.
The musculoskeletal system is often affected by sports-related injuries, especially in younger athletes, since sports and other rigorous physical activities involve movement and put the developing system under considerable stress.
Common Sports-Related Injuries
In the United States, approximately 35 million young people participate in different types of sports. Over the past 20 years, there has been an increase in sports injuries among children and teenagers. Younger people acquire such injuries as much as adults, but they are more susceptible to injuries in the growth plate, joint surface, and apophysis.
Such injuries are often caused by direct contact, causing trauma to some parts of your musculoskeletal system.
Sprains are injuries to the ligaments, or the connective tissues that attach the person’s bones to his muscles. This might result in tearing or stretching of the tissue. Sprains are fairly common in sports such as basketball or soccer, and occur when players fall and land on the floor in awkward positions, possibly twisting a knee or landing on a side of their foot.
The most common sprains that occur in recreational and professional sports are ankle and wrist sprains. This happens when the player lands on an outstretched arm or an outward or inward feet position. The level of severity of sprains varies from mild, swelling ligaments, to complete tears or ruptures which need surgery to be fixed.
Strains are injuries caused by twisting muscles or tendons and can either be acute or chronic. Acute strains are a result of trauma or hard blows to the body which causes over-stressing to the body. Meanwhile, chronic strains are a result of the overuse of muscles and tendons by repetitive movements.
The most common types of strains involve the back, the hamstring, and tendonitis, which is the inflammation of the tendons. These are more common in sports such as football, hockey, wrestling, rowing, and golf. Its severity varies from mild damages to muscle fibers that can heal within 3 weeks, to complete ruptures of the muscle that require surgery.
Growth Plate Fractures
Growth plates are parts of the bone that are responsible for growth in young children and adolescents. When affected by injuries, this may cause problems to the bone’s future growth. However, this injury is fairly common and needs to be treated to ensure proper bone growth.
Growth plate fractures are classified into different types, with varying intensity and injury type. Its level of intensity and other factors such as the age of the child contribute to how the injury is to be treated. Most of these are treatable with a cast but require adequate care and treatment.
How to Manage Injuries at Home
Rest. Sometimes, adequate rest is all it takes for your body to recover. Get some rest and make sure the injured part of your body is not used improperly.
Ice. Cold or ice compress helps reduce swelling on the affected area.
Compression. Wrapping the affected area with a bandage helps alleviate the swelling.
Elevation. Try elevating the area higher than your chest level to minimize swelling.
Prevention is Better than Cure
Accidents happen. But there are a few things we can be mindful of, to help lessen the chances of injuries in sports. Some of these are:
- Wearing protective gear – some sports allow the use of helmets, knee-pads, and gloves
- Proper warm-up and cooldown exercises – this allows your body to adjust to certain activities
- Following the game rules – do not play dirty or hit other players to purposely inflict injury
- Being mindful of other players – watch out for yourself to avoid impact with other players
- Stop playing when injured – know when to stop and get rest, or if diagnosed, be sure to get proper treatment before attempting to play again to avoid further injuries and permanent damage.
When to Call A Doctor
If symptoms of an injury persist after rest and other home management techniques or obvious breaking of body parts is visible, it is essential to see a doctor. This helps to avoid further injuries and permanent damage and allows the injured person to get back on track and play sports again after recovering.