Sports injuries may be defined as injuries that occur to athletes during sporting activities or training. They are often due to overuse of a part of the body when participating in their sport. Examples would include “runner’s knee”, a painful condition generally associated with running, and “golfer’s elbow” or “tennis elbow”, forms of repetitive stress injury at the elbow that do not necessarily have to occur with golf or tennis. Other types of injury, such as torn ligaments, torn tendons or bone fractures, can occur during contact sports when colliding with other players or taking hard tackles.
Injuries are a common occurrence in professional sports and teams often have their own trainers and sports physiotherapists to take care of their star players. Even though you may not be up to club level in your sport you will still want to enjoy it and to do your best in it. Most of us do not have access to the same level of care as professional players, but the practitioners at Healthcare 2000 Clinics are qualified to provide a quality service in the management of sports injuries.
A “pulled” muscle or some other niggling injury can hamper your ability to enjoy your sport, reach peak performance and stay fit. Ignoring pain and persisting too long with your sport without treatment can lead on to a chronic injury.
We often see people with:
- Hamstring strains
- Calf strains
- Groin sprains
- Thigh sprains
- Cruciate Ligament injuries
- Achilles tendon injuries
- Shoulder sprains (such as rotator cuff injuries)
- Tennis elbow
- Golfers elbow
- Back pain
- Neck pain
Our chiropractors have all been trained to manage a wide variety of sports injuries, our physiotherapist at Semington has worked with professional cricket and rugby teams and our sports and rehabilitation therapist at Semington has cared for top level marathon runners, canoeists and cyclists.
What are sports injuries?
Sports injuries may be broadly classified as either traumatic injuries or overuse injuries. Traumatic injuries account for the majority in contact sports such as football or rugby because of the forceful, high collision nature of these sports. Such injuries can range from muscle strains, ligament sprains and bruises, to fractures, dislocations and head injuries.
A muscle strain involves a small tear in the muscle fibres; a ligament sprain is a small tear in the ligament tissue and a bruise or contusion refers to damage of the small blood vessels that leads to bleeding within the tissues. During the first five days after the trauma the body’s response to all these types of sports injuries is inflammation.
The symptoms of inflammation are local swelling, heat, redness and stiffness as the damaged cells within the soft tissues respond to the trauma. Dead and damaged cells release chemicals that initiate an inflammatory response.
Damaged blood vessels create bleeding within the tissue and the body responds by forming a small clot of blood to stop the bleeding. New cells called fibroblasts are formed from the clot and begin the healing process, laying down scar tissue.
If the initial “inflammatory stage” is prolonged beyond the usual 5 days it can slow down the healing process, delaying a return to activity. Sports injury treatments are directed to minimise the inflammatory phase of an injury accelerating the healing process.
Treatment and prevention
The inflammatory stage typically lasts about 5 days. Treatment at this time addresses the cardinal signs of inflammation – pain, swelling, redness, heat and stiffness - and will usually include “RICE” (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), as well as special exercises, other forms of therapy such as ultrasound and “dry needling” (acupuncture).
Research has shown that a comprehensive warm-up programme will reduce the frequency of injuries. More and more professional and amateur athletes are turning to compression sportswear as these garments are thought to reduce the risk of muscle injury and to accelerate muscle recovery. A full assessment by one of our Healthcare 2000 clinicians may show up problems which, if treated correctly, will not go on to cause injury.
We will also be happy to advise on specific exercises and stretches that may be of help in enabling you to reach peak performance.