Athletic Injury

An injury may be defined as an act that damages or hurts. Injuries may be classified into two different categories: primary injuries and secondary injuries. A primary injury is an injury that results directly from a particular sport. The injury may be caused by body contact or use of equipment. A secondary injury is a secondary problem that can arise from initial injuries not properly treated or allowing the athlete to return to play too soon.

Types of Injuries

Three of the most common sporting injuries are contusions, sprains and strains.

A contusion, the most frequent sports injury, may be defined as a bruise received because of a sudden traumatic blow to the body. Some signs and symptoms may include: discoloration to the area, palpation may reveal a hard area, pressure to the area may cause pain, and range of motion may be limited. Initial treatment to a contusion should be ice, compression, elevation, anti-inflammatory drugs, if desired, and gentle stretching exercises. Ice should be applies for 20 to 30 minutes up to every two hours for pain and inflammation. Compression, if appropriate to the area, should be applied to help reduce swelling. Elevation helps to reduce swelling to the injured area. Gentle stretching is appropriate to keep range of motion to the injured body part. These stretches should be held for about ten seconds and may be repeated two to three times and should not cause pain.

A sprain is one of the most common and disabling injuries seen in sports. A traumatic joint twist that results in stretching or total tearing of the stabilizing connective tissue. There is injury to ligaments and to the articular cartilage and synovial membrane. Signs and symptoms may include: pain, loss of function, swelling, instability, local temperature increase, point tenderness, and skin discoloration. All of these symptoms vary according to the individual and to the extent of the injury. Sprains may be classified into three categories based on level of severity. Sprains are most common in the ankles, knees and shoulders and are seen less in wrists and elbows. Repeated joint twisting can eventually result in chronic inflammation, degeneration and arthritis. Initial treatment for a sprain is the same as a contusion. Ice, compression, elevation and anti-inflammatory drugs.

A strain a stretch, rip or tear in the muscle or tendon. A strain is most often produced by an abnormal muscle contraction. Some possible explanations of a strain may be related to profuse sweating leading to mineral loss, fatigue or strength imbalance. Signs and symptoms of a strain are local pain with increased tension of the muscle, loss of strength, mild swelling, inflammation and impaired muscle function. These signs and symptoms may be more or less prominent depending on the extent of the injury. Strains may also be classified into three categories. Initial treatment of a strain is the same as a sprain and contusion. Ice, compression, elevation and anti-inflammatory medications are recommended to help reduce the pain and inflammation.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call SportsCare at 217-862-0444 or email