Although minor sports injuries are a common occurrence in professional sports and most teams have a staff of athletic trainers and close connections to the medical community, you might not have had access to the same level of care – until now.
If you pull a muscle or other niggling injury, it can hamper your efforts to enjoy your sport and stay fit. You may have ignored the pain and carried on with your sport for too long without treatment, and now find yourself with a chronic injury. It’s not surprising that we often see people with:
- Hamstring strains
- Calf strains
- Achilles tendon injuries
- Knee pain (Runners Knee)
- Groin and thigh sprains
- Lower back pain
- Tennis elbow
- Shoulder sprains (rotator cuff injuries)
Our physio, James Masterson, has worked with professional football teams, local rugby teams and marathon runners and one of our chiropractors, Matthew Bennett, worked with Brighton and Hove Albion and the British Alpine Ski Team.
In many cases, these types of sports injuries are due to overuse of a part of the body when participating in a certain activity. For example, runner’s knee is a painful condition generally associated with running, while tennis elbow is a form of repetitive stress injury at the elbow (although it does not often occur with tennis players). Other types of injuries can be caused by a hard contact with something. This can often cause a broken bone or torn ligament or tendon. These more serious problems may need referral to a medical doctor or even A & E although physiotherapy can help with rehabilitation to full function.
What are sports injuries?
Sports injuries can be broadly classified as either traumatic or overuse injuries. Traumatic injuries account for most injuries in contact sports such as football or rugby because of the dynamic and high collision nature of these sports. These injuries range from bruises and muscle strains, to fractures and head injuries.
A bruise or contusion is damage to small blood vessels which causes bleeding within the tissues. A muscle strain is a small tear of muscle fibres and a ligament sprain is a small tear of ligament tissue. The body’s response to these sports injuries is the same in the initial five day period immediately following the traumatic incident – inflammation.
Signs and symptoms of sports injuries
Inflammation is characterized by pain, localized swelling, heat, redness and a loss of function. All of these traumatic injuries cause damage to the cells that make up the soft tissues. The dead and damaged cells release chemicals, which initiate an inflammatory response. Small blood vessels are damaged and opened up, producing bleeding within the tissue. In the body’s normal reaction, a small blood clot is formed in order to stop this bleeding and from this clot, special cells (called fibroblasts) begin the healing process by laying down scar tissue.
The inflammatory stage is therefore the first phase of healing. However, too much of an inflammatory response in the early stage can mean that the healing process takes longer and a return to activity is delayed. The sports injury treatments are intended to minimize the inflammatory phase of an injury, so that the overall healing process is accelerated.
Sports injury treatment and prevention
The inflammatory stage typically lasts around 5 days and all treatment during this time is designed to address the cardinal signs of inflammation – pain, swelling, redness, heat and a loss of function. This might include RICE (Rest Ice Compression Elevation), special exercises, laser therapy, ultrasound or even acupuncture.
A comprehensive warm-up programme has been found to decrease injuries. Compression sportswear is becoming very popular with both professional and amateur athletes. These garments are thought to both reduce the risk of muscle injury and speed up muscle recovery. A full assessment by one of our experts may show problems which , if treated properly, will not go on to cause injury. We will also advise on the sort of exercises and stretches which will help too.
Recent Posts on Sports Injuries …
- How to manage an acute injury yourself 29th February 2016 “As a physiotherapist this is a question I get asked a lot and having just completed the Brighton Half Marathon you may be asking the yourself the same question.” says Sundial physio James Masterson. He goes on to say “So in order to help you with your post run recovery here’s a few useful tips to ease you back ...
- Great stretches for running 10th February 2016 Stretching may help reduce injury and improve flexibility in runners. Most runners include stretches in their routine. It is important to prepare your muscles for a run by gently warming up and keep flexible by doing these stretches. These exercises put together by our physio can help stretch the main running muscles. These stretches should be ...
- Runners MOT – Brighton Half Marathon 30th November 2015 Running injuries often start with a niggle. Knee pain, muscle strain, tendon pulls, bursitis, ligament sprains and all sorts of other aches and pains are a constant reminder that marathon training and actually running it can be a hazardous business. Many people who enter for the Vitality Brighton Half Marathon will not complete it because ...
- Do I need orthotics for running? 4th December 2014 Why would I need orthotics? Although running shoe design and technology has progressed leaps and bounds over recent years, there are certain foot types that will require more support, explains James Masterson, physio here at Sundial, Brighton. However not everyone will benefit from orthotics and it’s important to gain professional advice before deciding on whether an orthotic is ...
- Running shoes – top tips for the marathon season from Brighton physio 27th November 2014 If like me you’re considering starting your preparation for the up and coming marathon season then take a look at my top tips for staying injury free and completing the 26.2 miles with a smile on your face says James Masterson, a physiotherapist here at Sundial, Brighton. Which running shoe shall I buy? Inappropriate footwear is the root ...
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