Sports injuries occur when playing indoor or outdoor sports or while exercising. They can result from accidents, inadequate training, improper use of protective devices, or insufficient stretching or warm-up exercises. The most common sports injuries are sprains and strains, fractures and dislocations.
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is major stabilizing ligament in the knee, which may tear with overuse while playing sports. The ACL has poor ability to heal and may cause instability. Other common sports injuries in the knee include cartilage damage and meniscal tear. Knee injuries during sports may require surgical intervention, which can be performed using open surgical or a minimally invasive technique. Your surgeon will recommend physical therapy to strengthen your muscles and improve elasticity and movement of the bones and joints.
The most common treatment recommended for injury is rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE).
- Rest: Avoid activities that may cause injury.
- Ice: Ice packs can be applied to the injured area, which will help reduce swelling and pain. Ice should be applied over a towel on the affected area for 15-20 minutes, four times a day, for several days. Never place ice directly over the skin.
- Compression: Compression of the injured area also helps reduce swelling. Elastic wraps, air casts and splints can accomplish this.
- Elevation: Elevate the injured part above your heart level to reduce swelling and pain.
Some of the measures that are followed to prevent sports-related injuries include:
- Follow an exercise program to strengthen the muscles.
- Gradually increase your exercise level and avoid overdoing the exercise.
- Ensure that you wear properly-fitted protective gear such as elbow guards, eye gear, facemasks, mouth guards and pads, comfortable clothes, and athletic shoes before playing any sports activity, which will help reduce the chances of injury.
- Make sure that you follow warm-up and cool-down exercises before and after the sports activity. Exercises will help stretch muscles, increase flexibility and reduce soft tissue injuries.
- Avoid exercising immediately after eating a large meal.
- Maintain a healthy diet, which will nourish the muscles.
- Avoid playing when you are injured or tired. Take a break for some time after playing.
- Learn all the rules of the game you are participating in.
- Ensure that you are physically fit to play the sport.