Sports injury

Sports injuries are injuries that occur most commonly during sports or exercise. They can be due to poor training, inadequate warm up, lack of conditioning, or trauma. Sports or performance injuries can be classified according to either the cause of the injury or by the body part damaged.

If injuries are classified according to cause they can be broken down into:

• Direct injury – Caused by an external blow or force, either a collision with another player (eg. a rugby tackle) or being struck with an object (eg. a hockey stick). This can result in a range of injuries from bruising to joint and ligament damage, dislocations and bone fractures.

• Indirect injury – Can occur in two ways, either the injury occurs some distance from the impact site (eg. falling on an outstretched hand resulting in a dislocated shoulder) or the injury does not result from physical contact with an object or person, but from internal forces built up by the actions of the performer, (eg. over-stretching, poor technique, fatigue and lack of fitness). Ligament sprains and muscle strains and tears are examples of these injuries.

• Overuse injury – Occurs when excessive and repetitive force is placed on the bones and other connective tissues of the body. Little or no pain might be experienced in the early stages of these injuries and if the athlete continues to place pressure on the injured site it is not given the necessary time to heal. Eventually the damage accumulates and the injured site becomes inflamed and therefore painful (eg. stress fractures and tendonitis).

Sports injuries can also be classified by tissue type: soft or hard tissue. Soft-tissue injury is the most common type of injury in sport and it occurs to muscles, ligaments, tendons and the skin. Tears, sprains, strains, contusions, abrasions, lacerations and blisters are all possible soft-tissue injuries. Hard-tissue injury involves injury to bone; this classification includes fractures and dislocations.

A wide variety of orthoses can be used to prevent injuries (prophylactic use) such as knee/ankle bracing or biomechanical insoles. Orthotics can also be used during the rehab process.

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