If you’re involved in sports, understanding your susceptibility to injuries, identifying them, and learning how to address them are all part and parcel of staying ahead of the game. That is to say, given the fact that there’s no foolproof strategy to totally prevent sports injuries, it pays to know what to do in the event that you sustain one.
Let’s explore the five most common sports injuries and their corresponding treatment methods.
A sprain occurs when you overstretch or tear a ligament, which is the tough band of tissue that connects two bones together and provides them with stability.
A sprain can cause pain, weakness, swelling, bruising, and inability to use, or weight bear on, the affected area, among other symptoms. You may also hear a pop at the time of your injury.
A light sprain may only take a week or two to heal and can usually be treated successfully using the R.I.C.E. method:
- Rest – stopping exercise and activities involving the affected area and not putting any weight on the injury
- Ice – applying an ice pack (wrapped in a thin towel) to the injury for no more than 20 minutes every 2-3 hours
- Compression – wrapping the injured area with an elastic bandage to support it and reduce swelling
- Elevation – keeping the injured area raised on a pillow (above the level of your heart) as much as possible
Physical therapy may also be recommended to improve strength and stability in the affected area. You should visit a doctor if you have numbness or significant pain in the injured area or if you can’t move or bear weight on the injured area.
Severe sprain refers to the complete rupture or tear of a ligament. In such case, surgery is almost always required to repair it.
A strain occurs when the muscles or tendons (the tough tissue that connects muscles to bones) get overstretched or torn. Strains commonly affect the muscles in the lower back and hamstrings (back of the thigh).
Strains can occur suddenly or over time and can cause pain, tenderness, swelling, bruising, limited movement, and muscle cramps and weakness.
The R.I.C.E. method is also often used to treat a strain. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy can also help to improve stability and strength of the injured area or that you wear a brace or splint to help immobilize the injured area while it heals. In severe cases, surgery may be considered to repair a tear.
A fracture, commonly known as a broken bone, can be caused by a number of factors, such as a collision, fall, overuse, or a sudden impact. Typically, you will know immediately if you have fractured a bone through its symptoms, such as sudden and severe pain followed by immediate swelling, bruising and tenderness to the area.
A fracture requires immediate medical attention. When left untreated, a fracture can result in improper healing and complications.
Treatment for a fracture will depend on the severity and location of the fracture. A simple break may be treated successfully with ice, rest, and immobilization such as wearing a sling or cast while the fracture heals. However, for complex fractures, surgery is necessary to realign the bone fragments. Pins, wires, plates, or screws may be required to maintain proper alignment during the healing process.
Physical therapy and rehabilitation may be necessary when the fracture heals to improve strength, function and mobility.
A joint dislocation is an injury that causes the ends of the bones to slip out of a joint. Dislocations can occur on any joint, but most often affect the knee, shoulder, fingers, elbow, or hip.
Symptoms of a dislocation include a noticeable deformity, sudden, severe pain and the inability to use the joint.
Emergency care is required in order to move the joint back into its normal position, followed by rest and immobilization. Surgery may be required for severe dislocations, if the doctor is unable to move the joint back into place or if there is damage to nearby blood vessels, tissues, and nerves.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurs due to a blow, bump, or jolt to the head.
A concussion doesn’t always cause immediate symptoms: signs and symptoms can manifest hours or days after the injury. Symptoms of concussion may include:
- Balance problems
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to light
Although most minor concussions usually resolve with relative rest (limiting activities that involve thinking and concentration), it is still important to seek immediate medical attention, for full evaluation and cognitive tests, to rule out serious injury to the brain.
Long-term brain damage and even death may occur if a concussion is not addressed promptly, particularly if a second concussion—a condition referred to as second impact syndrome—occurs.
Treatment for Sports Injuries in Fairless Hills
If you have a sports injury, visit Patient Care Now Urgent Care for prompt diagnosis and expert treatment. Our board-certified emergency medicine physicians treat patients of all ages suffering from all types of acute illnesses and minor injuries.
To learn more about our urgent care services, call our office at (267) 202-6433. No appointment is necessary, just walk in to receive the expert care you need. Alternatively, you may check in online for your added convenience. We are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year to patients in the Bucks County area.