Sports Medicine

Sports Medicine

Sports injuries, today are not just limited to professional athletes or boys who participate in school sports programs. Today, a large number of people of both sexes and all ages are regularly participating in sports and fitness activities. There are women playing traditionally men’s sports such as soccer, basketball, and kick-boxing. The vast majority of both sexes play golf, tennis, basketball, and/or participate in aerobic activities like running. Regrettably, risk of injury is always a possibility with any sports activity. Nearly all of injuries generally fit into two groups: 1) traumatic injury, such as a slip, fall, or collision and, 2) repetitive stress or overuse injury.

Traumatic Injuries

These injuries create the debilitating problems often associated with trauma. A high percentage of traumatic injuries are to the ligaments, the tissue that connects bone to bone, and to body muscles, although fractures and dislocations do happen at times, in particular with contact sports. Damage to a ligament is called a sprain, while trauma to a muscle or its tendon is a strain. The most frequent places for these types of injuries are the ankles, knees, and shoulders, nevertheless other areas can be affected including the low back and neck. Because the spinal cord and/or spinal nerves can be harmed, injury to the neck and low back can be extremely serious.

Traumatic injuries can vary from a mild “muscle pull” or ankle twist to a serious problem requiring surgery. It all depends upon the degree of tearing of the tissues, the location, and the age of the person. Some degree of swelling takes place with most sprains and strains. But, with certain injuries, particularly those of the ankle and knee, there can be some internal bleeding as well. Strains and sprains demand appropriate attention, especially during the initial stages of an injury, to insure correct healing and avoid future disability. Therapy from a competent health-care professional, such as your Santa Barbara chiropractor, is highly expedient.

If you’ve sustained an injury, the best course of action is to see a professional. Until assistance is attainable, remember the acronym, PRICE:

  •    Protect injury to prevent additional damage
  • R    Rest the injured area
  • I     Ice injury to abate swelling, bleeding, muscle spasm, and pain
  • C    Compress injury with a specifically designed or elastic bandage to support injured tissues
  • E    Elevate the injury, particularly when dealing with ankles and knees

By all means it is important to get the injury properly evaluated by a chiropractor to ascertain the amount of damage. Nearly all of these injuries can recover, although they do need knowledgeable treatment during the various stages of healing. If not carefully monitored and treated, a sprain or strain injury can result in long-lasting joint instability, painful or weak joints and muscles, and lack of mobility.

Overuse or Repetitive Strain Injuries

These injuries are becoming more prevalent, especially among individuals going out for sports such as golf, tennis, bowling, and any other activity that necessitates the same movement over and over (repetitively). An activity as uncomplex and healthy as running, especially on a treadmill, can also be a factor.

Repetitious activity can frequently create a very slight strain to tissues, expressly tendons and muscles. But, it is the accumulative effects of the repetition that causes the more serious problem.  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one of the most common types of overuse injuries. Over time the muscle or other affected tissue develops changes that no longer allow it to function correctly, resulting in pain, stiffness and disability. Certain factors predispose a person to these sorts of injury. Some are “intrinsic,” i.e., the factor is found within a person’s own body. Other factors are “extrinsic,” which means that the factors are external and can generally be changed or controlled by the individual.

More information available at: Chiropractic for Health.