The strategy of pain and injury management you take after being hurt while exercising or participating in sports will depend on the types of sports injuries you have incurred. If you are hurt while playing sports, it will likely be an injury to the musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system is what provides stability and support when the body is moving – and is the frame upon which the human body takes it form.
From the smallest connective tissues such as ligaments, tendons, and joints to the major cartilage, muscles, and skeleton, there is an interrelation between the musculoskeletal system and the vascular (blood circulation) and the nervous system (which transmits pain signals to the brain).
Causes of Sports Injuries
Sports injuries can often be avoided when precautions are taken. To reduce the chance of sports injury, it is important to practice your sport, warm up before activities, and have prepared your muscles with strength and flexibility training. Taking proper time off between rigorous activity and taking breaks during sports engagement will also limit your susceptibility to an injury.
The above practices will dramatically limit the chance of being injured while playing sports. The most common causes of sports injuries include:
- poor training that fails to protect muscles
- unsafe environment such as hard terrain
- structural abnormalities of the body
- accidental impact or abnormal body movements
Types of Sports Injuries
Common sports injuries can be classified by the part of the body affected, such as:
- strains and sprains to muscles
- ligament tears between joints
- tendon tears that support joints
- dislocated joints
- fractured bones
Some sport injuries will also describe the specific body part affected, such as:
- shin splints
- tennis elbow
- Achilles tendon injuries
- dislocated shoulder
- turf toe
- groin pull
Hard Tissue and Soft Tissue Injuries
The types of sports injury a person experiences will be diagnosed by looking at the type of tissue that has been affected. Soft tissue either surrounds, connects, or supports body organs or other structures. These soft tissue injuries affect muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, tendons, or the fascia (a thin layer of fibrous tissue enveloping a muscle)
Hard tissue injuries occur to bones or to the teeth. Hard tissue injuries include broken or fractured bones, shattered teeth, or dislocated bones which sometimes may leave both hard tissue and soft tissue pain or injury.
Physicians will often ask how an injury occurred – whether it was due to direct impact or if it is an indirect injury due to a secondary factor, such as overuse of the muscle or lack of warm-up and stretching. How the injury occurred is important because typically an indirect injury will present symptoms at a different site, other than at the site of contact. It is the body’s internal mechanisms that can trigger an injury when no direct contact has been made.
Indirect injuries can occur due to poor technique while running or when a weightlifter fails to recognize proper muscle recovery times. A direct injury will occur at the point of contact on the body – which is common for hard tissue injuries.