Dr. Akhilesh Yadav – Associate Director, Orthopedics & Joint Replacement, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Vaishali
Participating in sports is an excellent way to stay active and healthy, but it also comes with the risk of sustaining injuries. Sports-related orthopedic injuries can be severe and can result in significant long-term effects if not adequately managed. In the recent past as well, several known athletes like Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Iyer, and others have endured injuries that have resulted in their exclusion from the national team.
Sports-related orthopedic injuries can affect any part of the musculoskeletal system, including bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These injuries are often the result of overuse, improper technique, inadequate conditioning, or accidents during play. The most common sports-related orthopedic injuries include sprains, strains, fractures, and dislocations.
Sprains are injuries to ligaments, which are the connective tissues that connect bones to each other. People get sprains when the joint is forced beyond its normal range of motion, causing the ligament to stretch or tear. Ankle sprains are the most common type of sprain and are frequently seen in sports like basketball and soccer.
Strains are injuries to muscles or tendons, which are the tissues that attach muscles to bones. Strains occur when a muscle or tendon is stretched too far or torn. Hamstring strains are common in sports like track and field, while tennis elbow is a type of strain seen in tennis players.
Fractures occur when a bone is broken, either partially or completely. Fractures can occur due to a sudden impact or as a result of repetitive stress. Stress fractures are common in sports that involve running or jumping, such as track and field and basketball.
Dislocations occur when a bone is forced out of its joint, often as a result of a sudden impact or fall. Shoulder dislocations are common in sports like football and hockey.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury is a common injury that occurs in sports, particularly those that involve sudden changes in direction or jumping. The ACL is one of the major ligaments in the knee joint, responsible for stabilizing the knee and preventing excessive forward movement of the tibia (shinbone) relative to the femur (thighbone).
ACL injuries are characterized by sudden pain and swelling in the knee, often accompanied by a “popping” sound at the time of injury. Athletes with ACL injuries typically require surgical reconstruction of the ligament followed by a lengthy period of rehabilitation before returning to their sport. Proper conditioning and strengthening of the muscles surrounding the knee can help prevent ACL injuries.
Preventing sports-related orthopedic injuries involves several key measures. Proper conditioning and warm-up exercises are essential to help prepare the body for physical activity. Adequate strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness are all essential components of a comprehensive conditioning program. Proper technique and form are also crucial, as improper technique can increase the risk of injury.
Using appropriate safety equipment can also help prevent sports-related orthopedic injuries. Helmets, pads, and braces can provide additional protection and support to vulnerable areas of the body. Choosing the right equipment for the sport and ensuring that it fits properly is essential.
Proper rest and recovery are also essential components of injury prevention. Overuse injuries are common in sports that involve repetitive motions, such as running or throwing. Taking time to rest and recover between activities can help prevent these types of injuries.
Whenever a sportsperson endures an injury, it is essential to get prompt and appropriate treatment. Ignoring or attempting to play through an injury can result in additional damage and prolonged recovery time. Treatment for sports-related orthopedic injuries typically involves a combination of rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). In some cases, immobilization or surgery may be necessary.
Rehabilitation is also an essential component of injury treatment. Physical therapy and several exercises can help restore strength, flexibility, and range of motion following an injury. Gradual return to physical activity under the guidance of a healthcare professional can help prevent re-injury and ensure a full recovery.
In conclusion, sports-related orthopedic injuries can have significant long-term effects on an individual’s physical health and well-being. However, many of these injuries can be prevented through proper conditioning, technique, and safety equipment. In the event of an injury, prompt and appropriate treatment and rehabilitation are crucial to ensuring a full recovery. By taking proactive steps to prevent and manage sports-related orthopedic injuries, individuals can enjoy the benefits of sports participation while minimizing the risk of injury.