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Sports Injuries and Prevention

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Sports Injuries and Prevention

NIH – NIAMS Sports Injuries “What Are Sports Injuries? Fast Facts: An Easy-to-Read Series of Publications for the Public "Sports injuries" are injuries that happen when playing sports or exercising. Some are from accidents. Others can result from poor training practices or improper gear. Some people get injured when they are not in proper condition. Not warming up or stretching enough before you play or exercise can also lead to injuries. The most common sports injuries are: • Sprains and strains • Knee injuries • Swollen muscles • Achilles tendon injuries • Pain along the shin bone • Fractures • Dislocations. “

NHS - Sports injuries “Symptoms: Virtually any part of your body can be injured during sport or exercise. The most common sports injuries and their symptoms are: • Sprains - this is a stretch or tear to a ligament; the tissue that holds two or more bones together. Symptoms of a sprain include pain, swelling, bruising and restriction of movement in the affected area. Sprains are common injuries in many sports and can be treated with rest and anti-inflammatory medication if necessary. • Strains - this is a twist, pull or tear of a muscle or tendon (the tough, narrow tissue at the end of a muscle that connects it to the bone). It is caused by overstretching or over-contracting a muscle. Symptoms of a strain include pain, muscle spasm and loss of strength in the muscle. Strains are common injuries in many sports, particularly those that involve running, jumping or rapid changes of direction. • Tennis elbow - symptoms include swelling around the outer edge of the elbow (because the tendon is inflamed), tenderness around the elbow and pain during movement of the elbow. Tennis elbow is due to repetitive movement of the muscles in the lower arm and can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, an elbow splint to support the arm, or a cortisone injection. • Golfer's elbow - this condition has similar symptoms to tennis elbow (above), with the difference that the swelling appears on the inside of the elbow due to the difference in arm movement during sport. • Jogger's nipple - this term is used to describe dermatitis (itchy, inflamed skin) around the nipples and is due to constant chafing of clothing against the nipple. Spreading petroleum jelly on your skin before running can help prevent it. Hydrocortisone cream may help to reduce symptoms once the condition has developed. • Runner's knee - this is swelling at the back of the kneecap (chondromalacia) and can cause a grating sensation in the knee. Runner's knee is due to repeated impact through running on hard surfaces. • Blisters - these are small swellings filled with serum, which are caused by friction on soft skin. Blisters are a common minor injury for athletes who take part in prolonged sports, such as long distance running or football. Rowers often develop blisters on the palms of their hands. • Head injuries - many athletes receive blows to the head during contact sports such as rugby, boxing, ice hockey, and football. This can cause concussion and even brain damage. Even if the knock is not severe enough to cause the skull to fracture, the brain bangs against the skull and can be damaged. A knock to the head can cause symptoms such as loss of consciousness, light-headedness, dizziness, nausea, and sickness. These are signs of concussion and will need medical treatment. • Tendonitis - this is an uncomfortable condition caused by overuse, strain, or a tear in a tendon. Symptoms include swelling, redness, and pain at the injured area, restricted movement of the area, and sometimes a change in appearance of the area, such as a lump or visible change in position of an affected limb. • Shin splints - this is pain along the shin bone (the bone at the front of the lower leg between the knee and the ankle), caused by inflammation and tiny fractures (microfractures) in the surface of the bone. Shin splints are common in any sport involving running and are usually caused by too much training too soon, although they can be caused by running on a hard surface or by running in shoes that do not have enough support for the foot and ankle. “

Highlighted Articles

Prevent injuries in young athletes (2008) “Participation in sports is an excellent opportunity for kids to keep busy, release energy, learn teamwork and develop healthy lifestyles. However, many children and adolescents today are involved in multiple sports and teams year-round, which has resulted in an increase in overuse injuries and burnout syndrome in youths. Some studies suggest that up to 50 percent of pediatric sports injuries fall under this classification. Overuse injuries are common due to overtraining, improper technique and limited recovery time between both sporting activities and competitive seasons. This type of injury involves microtrauma to the bone, tendons or muscles due to repetitive stress, without enough time for these structures to heal and repair naturally. “

To Stretch or Not to Stretch? The Answer Is Elastic (2008) "The truth is that after dozens of studies and years of debate, no one really knows whether stretching helps, harms, or does anything in particular for performance or injury rates. Yet most athletes remain convinced that stretching helps, and recently more and more have felt a sort of social pressure to show that they are limber, in part due to the popularity of yoga. Flexibility has become another area where many athletes want to excel. . If your goal is to prevent injury, Dr. Gilchrist said, stretching does not seem to be enough. Warming up, though, can help. If you start out by moving through a range of motions that you'll use during activity, you are less likely to be injured. . Some athletes - gymnasts, hurdlers and swimmers among them - may need to stretch to gain the flexibility they need for their sport, Dr. McHugh said. But distance runners do not benefit from being flexible, he found. The most efficient runners, those who exerted the least effort to maintain a pace, were the stiffest. . "Runners don't need to stretch," she insists. Dr. Charles Kenny, an orthopedist in private practice in Stockbridge, Mass., is even more adamantly opposed to stretching. The practice, he said, weakens performance and makes an injury more likely. "If stretching was a drug, it would be recalled," Dr. Kenny said. Stretching the hamstring muscle, for example, teaches the muscle to relax when the knee is fully extended, Dr. Kenny said. But that is not what a runner needs. Instead, runners need to have their hamstrings stiff and activated when the knees are extended. Of course, one test of how passionate researchers are about stretching is to ask them whether they themselves stretch. Many say they do. "

Overuse injuries in female athletes. (Croat Med J. 2007 ) “The last three decades have witnessed a tremendous increase in female sports participation at all levels. However, increased sports participation of female athletes has also increased the incidence of sport-related injuries, which can be either acute trauma or overuse injuries. Overuse injuries may be defined as an imbalance caused by overly intensive training and inadequate recovery, which subsequently leads to a breakdown in tissue reparative mechanisms. This article will review the most frequent overuse injuries in female athletes in the context of anatomical, physiological, and psychological differences between genders.”

The long-term consequence of anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus injuries: osteoarthritis. (Am J Sports Med. 2007 ) “At 10 to 20 years after the diagnosis, on average, 50% of those with a diagnosed anterior cruciate ligament or meniscus tear have osteoarthritis with associated pain and functional impairment: the young patient with an old knee. These individuals make up a substantial proportion of the overall osteoarthritis population. There is a lack of evidence to support a protective role of repair or reconstructive surgery of the anterior cruciate ligament or meniscus against osteoarthritis development. A consistent finding in a review of the literature is the often poor reporting of critical study variables, precluding data pooling or a meta-analysis. Osteoarthritis development in the injured joints is caused by intra-articular pathogenic processes initiated at the time of injury, combined with long-term changes in dynamic joint loading. Variation in outcome is reinforced by additional variables associated with the individual such as age, sex, genetics, obesity, muscle strength, activity, and reinjury.”

Internet Sites

NIH - Sports Injuries

NIH – NIAMS Childhood Sports Injuries and Their Prevention: A Guide for Parents with Ideas for Kids

NIH - Preventing Childhood Sports Injuries

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Sports Injuries and Prevention

General Information


2.5 million basketball injuries to high school athletes in 6 seasons, study reveals

Broken Bones, Concussions Most Common Injuries in Youth Hockey

Football Head Hits Correlate to Brain Changes

Football helmets 'may do little to protect against concussion'

Former NFL Players May Be Plagued With Chronic Headaches

'Heading' Soccer Ball Can Damage Brain, Study Says

High school lacrosse players at risk for concussions, other injuries

Off Season May Not Be Long Enough to Recover From Football 'Hits'

Scooters Leading Cause of Toy-Linked Injuries in Kids

Smaller Brain Volume Seen in College Football Players in Study

Specializing in One Sport as Child No Guarantee of Future Success

Taking vitamin D2 is a poor choice for athletes, research shows

Three-Quarters of Young Baseball Players Have Arm Pain

Trampolines injure 1 million over 10 years

Vitamin C & E Supplements Hinders Muscle Endurance?



Concussion and Female Middle School Athletes (JAMA. 2014)

Concussion Among Female Middle-School Soccer Players (JAMA Pediatr. 2014)

High Injury Incidence in Adolescent Female Soccer. (Am J Sports Med. 2014 )

Magnetic Resonance Imaging Findings in the Symptomatic Hips of Younger Retired National Football League Players. (Am J Sports Med. 2014)

Middle School Injuries: A 20-Year (1988-2008) Multisport Evaluation. (J Athl Train. 2014 )

Risk Factors for Lower Extremity Injuries in Elite Female Soccer Players. (Am J Sports Med. 2014 )

Soccer heading is associated with white matter microstructural and cognitive abnormalities. (Radiology. 2013)

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