For as long as sports have been around, so have sports injuries. An athlete’s worst enemy is an injury. Injuries are prevented whenever possible by the use of protective gear and padding in many contact sports. However, an athlete is never 100% safe from injury. Whenever an athlete gets injured, that athlete must be treated and rehabilitated of his injury in order to be able to return and to compete in that sport. The treatment and rehabilitation of sports injuries vary according to location and severity, and also shorten the period of healing for the injury.
If not for sports medicine, athletes would not be able to recover from injuries as quickly and effectively as many do. The field of sports medicine is one that provides care for active people and athletes. Its purpose is to treat sports injuries and try to minimize the risk of them occurring. Sports medicine draws the knowledge of physicians, physical educators, physiologists, and athletic trainers to determine the type of training required for athletes to perform at their highest capability without getting injured. Many athletic teams have team doctors who provide examinations and medical attention for members before, and during the season.
Doctors and trainers work together to rehabilitate the player and get the athlete able to perform as soon as possible (Sports 804). Thanks to sports medicine doctors can help an athlete, treat and rehabilitate an injury, and reduce the amount of time for recovery. There are five major injuries in sports and they are, fractures, dislocations, sprains, strains, and contusions. There are ten types of fractures, the first being the comminuted fracture that has three or more fragments at the fracture site. A depressed fracture, which can cause a lot of tissue damage, is seen in skull fractures.
A greenstick fracture is an incomplete break in the bone, very similar to the bending of a green twig. An impacted fracture is the compression of osseous tissue, tissue inside the bone. Longitudinal fractures occur when the bone splits along its length. An oblique fracture occurs when one end receives twisting and the other end is fixed, causing the bone to be twisted. A serrated fracture is a fracture that occurs as a sharp edge fracture line, this fracture can cut blood vessels. A spiral fracture is an S shaped separation, like the oblique fracture.
Transverse fractures are straight lined fractures, and contrecoup fractures happen on the opposite side of where the trauma comes from (Arnheim 172). The treatment for fractures should include x-rays, immobilization or casting if possible, for six to eight weeks and physical therapy (172). Fractures, like many other injuries, take time to heal. However, with the aid of treatment and physical therapy, fractures can heal correctly and more quickly so that the athlete can return to his or her sport. The second most common and major injury resulting from sports are dislocations.
Dislocations are primarily from forces causing the joint to go beyond its normal lengths. There are two types of dislocations. The first is subluxations, which are partial dislocations and the second is luxations, which are complete dislocations and complete dislocations. Rehabilitation for dislocations changes according to the location and severity of the dislocation, because different body parts require different immobilization and care. Nevertheless, treatment and rehabilitation of dislocations is crucial in healing properly and promptly. Sprains and strains are two of the five major and most common sports injuries incurred by athletes.
People very commonly confuse sprains for strains and vice versa, however, sprains only happen to joints. They are one of the most common and disabling injuries in sports. A sprain is a dramatic joint twist, and rehabilitation of an injury such as this one must be proper so that an athlete can make a quick recovery and return to competition. Strains, on the other hand, only happen to muscles. A strain is a stretch, tear, or rip in the muscle. Sprains can be caused by minimal amounts of calcium or potassium, fatigue, or strength imbalances (Arnheim 154).
There are three degrees of strains, mild, moderate and severe. In sports the muscles having the highest amount of strains are the hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, and the deltoids in the shoulder. Strains may range from minute muscle separation to complete muscle rupture (155). Whether an injury is a strain, sprain, dislocation or fracture, an injury can always prevent an athlete from performing to his or her fullest. The athletes’ performance is limited, depending on the severity of the injury, but the treatment and rehabilitation performed on an injury determines how quickly the athlete recovers.
Contusions are extremely common in contact sports. They are also known as bruises but are not as harmless as they may seem. Sudden dramatic blows to the body cause contusions, which can be superficial or shallow, they can also be deep tissue bleeding, and compression, which is the crushing of tissue. Interruption of the circulatory system results in blood and lymph to flow into surrounding tissue, which is what causes contusions. Bruises are commonly thought of as minor injuries but can develop into hematomas (blood tumors) and can be disabling depending on how much damage was done.
Once again, with treatment and rehabilitation, an injury such as a contusion can be lessened The treatment of an injury varies according to the severity of the injury. An athlete must be treated correctly in order for that person to recover as quickly as possible. According to Dr. Scott Lifschitz, a chiropractor at the Los Angeles Injury Center, what determines the treatment done to a sports injury are the findings of the examination, the stage of the injury, the patients related history such as family history, personal history, general health, and other things that the person may be suffering from (Lifschitz).
Knowing all of these things can help a professional determine the proper treatment given to an athlete so that the athlete can return to sports more quickly and also find a way to prevent the injury from reoccurring. Reoccurring injuries change the way a person is treated for the injury. If an athlete continues to suffer the same injury, the professional has to look at what is causing the injury, such as weak muscles, or direct trauma (Lifchitz). Initial treatment for an injury does not change, however, treatment does change the way an injury heals and half reduces the amount of time it takes for the injury to heal, sometimes.
There are various forms of treatment that a physical therapist can administer to a sports injury patient. There is the application of ice, supports, splints, massage, muscle stimulation, and creams that can be used for the treatment and rehabilitation. Heat draws blood to the skin underneath the heat source and tends to increase internal bleeding or swelling (Treatment). Pain from an injury can be greatly reduced if the injury is correctly immobilized. Splinting or bandaging releases stress prevents painful movements, and helps control swelling.
Splints or bandages should never be tight as to prevent blood flow. Inflatable splints are a convenient and are a comfortable method of immobilization (Treatment). Soft tissue massages cause, mechanical, physiological, and psychological responses from the athlete. Massage is used along with other therapeutic methods such as muscle stimulation by alternating or direct electrical currents, which are used to relieve pain and muscle contraction (Arnheim 330). Creams, like heat and massage, aggravate an injury when it has just happened.
Any creams applied, must be applied gently on the skin, allowed to soak in, and never rubbed on an injury; doing so can increase internal bleeding (Treatment). Strength training is a good way of preventing injury and injury reoccurrence. Strengthening of the muscles around a joint plays a key part in keeping the joint stable so that the chance of injury occurrence and reoccurrence is lessened. However, over strengthening of a particular muscle around a joint may create a strength imbalance, which may be susceptible to injury (Smith 120).
Physical therapists may use these different types of therapy and treatment to rehabilitate an athlete. Administering these methods of treatment and physical therapy, helps insure an athlete’s ability to recover as quickly and as well as possible. Rehabilitation to an injury changes because not all sports are the same and different sports have different physical requirements of an athlete. The rehabilitation of a sports injury changes according to the sport in which the injury is sustained, due to the biomechanics that different sports require.
Rehabilitation is then somewhat adapted to the requirements of that sport (Lifschitz). If treatment and rehabilitation is not performed on an injured athlete, the period of healing will be longer and the chance of the injury not healing correctly is greater. “Neglecting treatment of an injury by a professional and letting the injury heal by its self,” according to Dr. Lifschitz, “may result in joint malfunction, injury reoccurrence, worsening of the injury, and even injury to other parts of the body in direct or indirect relation to the injury.
” Rehabilitation does change in relation to severity, location, and the sport in which athletes incur injuries. It is also clear that if treatment and rehabilitation of an injury is neglected, the speed of recovery, and chance of deformity or incorrect healing is greater. The absence of a key player on a team in some cases decides whether victory will be achieved easily or with difficulty, and in some rare cases, whether a team is successful or not.
With the help of doctors, trainers, physical therapists, variations of treatment, and rehabilitation, an athlete enables him of herself to promptly return to competition if the injury sustained is not a season or career ending injury. As shown before, the amount of time an injury takes to heal and allow an athlete to return to normal activity can be cut in half with therapeutic methods and different rehabilitation programs used and administered by physical therapists.
The rehabilitation for injuries sustained in sports differ from one another because of the physical requirements each different sport has for an athlete. Treatment and rehabilitation help the body heal itself correctly, and more efficiently, allowing for a speedy recovery. In addition, trainers and doctors work together to come up with a form of training and strengthening to help prevent occurrence and reoccurrence of sports injuries. Without sports medicine and the treatment and rehabilitation of sports injuries, athletes would be in a world of hurt.
Works Cited Arnheim, Daniel D. , and William E. Prentice. Principles of Athletic Training: Eighth Edition. St. Louis, Missouri: Mosby-Year Book, 1993. Lifschitz, Dr. Scott. Chiropractor. Personal Interview. 22 February. 2001. Smith, Ian K. “On Bended Knee. ” Time. 13 Nov. 2000: 120. “Sports Medicine. ” The World Book Encyclopedia. 1989 ed. “Treatment of Acute Sporting Injuries. ” N. pag. Online. Netscape. 21 Feb. 2001. Available: WWW: http://www. drugbase. co. za/data/med_info/acsport. htm.