The importance of physical activity within the field of healthcare has been increasing. This has been justified by a large amount of evidence showing that regular exercise practices have beneficial effects on individuals, as a factor for improving their health and quality of life.
For example, regular practicing of running is associated with improvement of blood glucose levels, cholesterol and lean mass and bone percentages, among other benefits. Basically, everyone wants to be fit!
However, practicing sports activities exposes individuals to physical injuries, which may sometimes be even greater than the injuries among workers who perform repetitive movements. Exercising to exhaustion, without guidance or with inadequate guidance, may contribute towards a higher injury rate as high as 83% for amateur or competitive people and thus impair their quality of life, either temporarily or definitively. Right now, we see the sudden increase in love for running, cycling with marathons & triathlons being conducted very often.
Acute injuries are caused by sudden trauma. Common acute injuries among athletes include contusions (bruises), sprains (a partial or complete tear of a ligament), strains (a partial or complete tear of a muscle or tendon) and fractures. But not all injuries are caused by a single, sudden twist, fall, or collision. A series of small injuries can cause minor fractures, minimal muscle tears, or progressive bone deformities, known as overuse injuries.
Injuries can be classified based on their priority. The first priority is the ones posing an immediate threat to life like cardiac arrest, airway obstruction or uncontrolled bleeding. The second priority are the ones posing a potential threat to life or limb-like head or spine injury or neurovascular injury to a limb. The third priority is sprain, strain, cuts, bruises. Thankfully the most common type of sports injuries are the third priority ones! And an amateur can encounter any of these three.
Signs That Warrant A Visit To The Doctor Include:
1. Inability to play following an acute or sudden injury.
2. Visible deformity of the athlete's arms or legs.
3. Decreased ability to play because of chronic or long-term complications following an injury.
Guidelines for Preventing Sports Injuries:
1. Be in proper shape to play a sport. Both physical and mental!
2. Know your sport well. Remember rules are designed to prevent injuries
3. Wear proper protective (helmets, guards) and playing (shoes, clothes) equipments
4. Always warm-up before playing
5. Avoid playing when very tired or in pain
6. Never ignore on/off-field injury
Dr. Rufus Vasanth Raj is a Senior Consultant – Arthroscopy & Sports Medicine at Dr. Rela Institute & Medical Centre, Chennai