Whether you’re a hardcore athlete or just enjoy being active when you can, a sports injury can ruin your game. Some injuries can sideline you for days, weeks, or even months. Accidents do happen, so it’s important to know what to do if you become injured, and what your options may be for recovery.
Common sports injuries
Although sports injuries can affect almost any part of your body, orthopedic physicians tend to see a few injuries more frequently.
- The most common sports injuries include:
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Shoulder (rotator cuff) injuries
- Knee injuries
- Broken bones (fractures)
- Shin splints (pain in the shin bone – the front of the lower leg)
What you should do
As soon as you experience a sports injury, you may be able to tell immediately. These types of injuries are usually very painful. The most important thing you can do at the time of injury is stop playing. Unfortunately, some children and adult athletes are told to “play through the pain.” This will likely make your injury worse, and could lead to a longer or more difficult recovery. If you’re hurt, stop what you are doing. If you’re in severe pain, can’t use or bear weight on part of your body, or have any swelling, seek medical help as soon as you can.
Almost any injury can be helped, at least partially, with R.I.C.E. treatment. This stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If your injury is minor, you may find that R.I.C.E. brings you the relief you need.
Treatment for sports injuries
For more serious injuries that cannot be treated at home, you may need to see an orthopedic surgeon. In some cases, you may have tests and examinations done to determine the severity of your injury.
Your treatment plan may include the following:
- Rest. Your physician may advise you to stay away from certain activities for a certain period of time.
- Medications. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can help with swelling and pain.
- Immobilizers. Slings, splints, and casts are necessary in some cases to allow the muscles and/or bones to heal.
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation. Your physician may prescribe physical therapy or rehab for some sports injuries. Working with a therapist can help you regain strength and mobility, as well as reduce pain.
- Surgery. Certain fractures may need to be realigned in surgery. Sometimes, muscles or tendons that are torn need to be surgically repaired. Fortunately, most sports injuries do not require surgery, which is only performed when non-surgical treatments aren’t adequate.
Don’t let a sports injury wreck your game. Play with proper equipment and good technique, and always warm up before you get active. If an injury happens to you, the expert orthopedic surgeons at CarePoint Health are here to help.
CarePoint Health's Bone Health program is designed to help prevent, detect, and treat osteoporosis and low bone density. To learn more about our orthopedic services, contact CarePoint Health at 1-877-791-7000.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.