The term “sports injury” is a broad term generally reserved for injuries occurring while playing sports or exercising.
Sports injuries may occur from accidents, improper training, overuse, lack of proper warm up and stretching, or poor conditioning such as the weekend warrior. While sports injuries can be quite painful, seldom are they serious and require surgery. Sports injuries commonly involve the musculoskeletal system which means the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage. Rarely do we see head injuries, spinal cord injuries or internal disorders from sports injuries.

Common Sports Related Injuries:

Sprain and Strains

A sprain injury involves the over-stretching or complete tear of a ligament. The ligament is a band-like structure which holds one bone tight to another bone. A sprain can be classified as a grade 1(minimally stretched) to a grade 3(complete tear). Sprains occur due to trauma such as a fall or impact to the body that causes a joint to be knocked from its normal position. The most common sites of sprain type injuries include the ankle, knee, wrist, lower back and neck (whiplash). Signs and symptoms of a sprain include pain or tenderness to touch, bruising, inflammation, swelling, joint instability, reduce range of motion, joint laxity and pain with pressure.

A strain injury occurs from over-stretching or stress to a muscle or tendon. The tendon is a strong cord that attaches muscle to bone. The over-stretching can result from twisting, bending or over contraction of a muscle. The symptoms are usually pain, tenderness, inflammation, spasm, loss of strength or loss of function. Muscles strains can be minor or severe depending on the amount of damage or stress placed on the muscle or tendon. It is important to have these injuries treated as soon as possible to prevent chronic problems which can impair function and loss of play time.

Knee Injuries

Knee injuries can be very complex involving one or more of the many ligaments, tendons and cartilage that make up the knee. It is possible to just sprain or strain the knee, but sometimes rupture or tear occurs possibly requiring surgery. Over 5.5 million people visit orthopedic surgeons each year for knee pain. Only a fraction of these people will actually require surgery to “fix” their problem. The surgeon will usually prescribe medications and send the patient out for therapy if surgery is not required. Because patients rarely require surgery, a visit for conservative treatment and management to our office to determine the severity of the injury is usually a better choice than an orthopedic surgeon.

Minor injuries of the knee include Runner’s Knee (pain at or under the knee cap at the front or side of the knee), Iliotibial Band Syndrome signified by pain at the lateral or outside aspect of the knee and leg, tendonitis or tendonosis (degeneration within the tendon usually at the site of the attachment to bone, chondromalacia patella (characterized by deep aching under the knee cap especially when kneeling or bending the knee for excessive periods.

More serious conditions involve one or more of the internal structures of the knee such as the cartilage(medial and lateral meniscus and articular cartilage, MCl (medial collateral ligament), LCL (lateral collateral ligament, ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), and PCL ( posterior cruciate ligament). Injury to these structures can be caused by a twisting motion of the knee while applying a downward step, hyperflexion, hyperextension, a sideways blow to the knee, landing wrong after jumping or landing on an uneven surface. Symptoms may include localized pain at the knee associated with pain when walking, inflammation, joint swelling and loss of function.

Shin Splints

Shin splints refer to a condition characterized by pain in the front aspect of the lower leg and sometimes ankle. Shin splints are very common in runners and basketball players jumping on hard surfaces. The condition usually onsets from overuse, overtraining, improper warm ups, long runs, lack of arch support or deconditioned athletes. Shin splints are also most common with people having flat feet. It is important to rest the injury as continued use can lead to chronicity.

Other shoulder injuries include labral cartilage tears, subacromial bursitis, frozen shoulder syndrome, shoulder dislocations, and sprains and strains of the shoulder.

Tennis Elbow

The medical term for this condition is known as lateral epicodylitis. Tennis elbow is usually characterized by pain or tenderness to touch on the outside of the elbow especially with certain movements such as twisting and gripping and possible inflammation. The cause of tennis elbow occurs from repetitive stress or injury to the common extensor tendon and muscle at the insertion on the lateral epicondyle of the elbow. Such activities may include racket sports requiring a back hand stroke, prolonged typing or using a screwdriver.

Pain Keeping You Down?
Don’t let pain restrict you from enjoying your everyday life! Reach out to Texas Spine Clinic, and we’ll send you a free gift including tips on how to reduce your pain. Contact us today!