What is a Sports Injury?
Any injury that arises from physical recreation, exercise or training counts as a sports injury. Most sports-related injuries fall into two broad categories: overuse injuries and trauma injuries.
Repetitive motions lead to nerve, tendon and muscle inflammation. Some of these overuse injuries are so common that they bear the names of the sports that cause them. You’ve probably heard of tennis elbow, golfer’s arm and runner’s knee even if you haven’t experienced them yourself. Delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, is a form of acute overuse injury – those muscle aches that make it so difficult to get out of bed a day or two after a strenuous workout are DOMS in action.
Overuse injuries can manifest well after the events that precipitated it. Many retired athletes cope with osteoarthritis after years of hard wear on their knees, hips or shoulder. Chronic back pain may have its origins in countless small tweaks and twinges that add up to increasing discomfort with age.
Acute traumatic injuries occur when making that diving tackle, taking a tumble on the hiking trail, lifting too much weight at the gym, or even stretching too hard in yoga class causes damage to soft tissues or joints. Sprains and muscle strains, torn cartilage, and irritated joints can happen in an instant, especially if your sport of choice involves significant force or speed. Taking precautionary measures and being sensible can help reduce your chances of sustaining a traumatic injury, but any physical activity carries some risk, so these injuries are very common.
Who Needs Treatment for Sports Injuries?
Exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system, builds strong bones, sharpens your mental acuity, improves your sleep and even brightens your mood. Improving your physical fitness through regular activity is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. However, ambitious exercise regimens and regular runs have a potential down side: an increased risk of suffering a, exercise or sports-related injury. Researchers at Monash University’s Centre for Research into Injury in Sport estimate that about a million Australians become injured during sports and leisure activities each year.
For athletes, injuries are an inevitable hazard. Hours of training and the physical stresses during competition dramatically increase the chances of sprains, strains, and tissue irritation. Weekend warriors and occasional athletes are also likely to suffer the occasional injuries. While professionals usually have trainers to teach them proper form, novice and recreational athletes often go it alone, increasing the risk of repetative strain injury due to lack of conditioning or trauma due to poor form. Most of the million Australians who seek help for a sports injury are amateurs, and if you’ve ever given your ankle a nasty turn while jogging in the park, you’re in that number.
Many activities that you wouldn’t consider a sport can also cause sports injuries. Golfer’s elbow can happen when you’re on the links, but you use the same muscles to rake leaves. Your tendons don’t know the difference between a golf club and a broom, so you may find yourself with a ‘sports’ injury without having set foot on the course.
Your first point of call after any musculoskeletal injury is your osteopath. As primary health care practitioners specialising in neuromusculoskeletal pain, osteopaths can make sure that your condition is accurately diagnosed and you are provided best practice management and rehabilitation treatment.