Exercising or playing sports in an inappropriate manner unsuitable for the body of the player, as well as playing sports in a dangerous environment, have the potential to cause an injury. Both minor and serious injuries can affect any part of the body, depending on the form of exercise being carried out or the sport being played. The most common injuries affect large muscle groups, such as hamstring injuries, which tend to affect runners or shoulder injuries that tennis players experience more often than players of other sports.
Overuse injury: As a rule, the more it’s used, the greater the chance of injury. For example, some sportsmen and -women train to run a certain distance, but deep down would like to run further, or they may compete at a distance which is further than the distance for which they trained. Such bad choices can potentially lead to injury. At the same time, some athletes or players will be recovering from a minor injury, yet they choose to play a sport or exercise in a way that requires the use of the injured area, thus aggravating the injury and potentially causing a muscle tear that can be much more serious than their initial injury.
Accidental injury: Injuries resulting in accidents while playing sports or exercising differ in severity depending on the power exerted or speed of the action at that time. These types of injury tend to be caused by heavy tackles, impacts and losses of balance which lead to falls. Such injuries usually occur in the part of the body being used, such as a joint slip or dislocation, muscle tears, bone fractures and in some cases injuries that may become life threatening if not treated appropriately and within a certain amount of time.
Use the appropriate equipment: For those who play sport or exercise regularly, it is essential that you wear the appropriate clothing for the type of activity. This includes high-quality safety apparatus, such as a cycling helmet that will protect your head in case of an accident. Or goalkeepers have to wear the correct gloves when playing to prevent against wrist or finger fractures. This is also true for marathon runners who are prone to knee joint inflammation and should wear a jumper’s knee support when competing or training.
Preparation: Athletes need to be aware of their own individual limitations and what they need to do in order to prepare for exercise. Athletes should be observant of any irregular feelings their body may be experiencing, such as whether they are fatigued or not hydrated enough for exercise. If the body becomes dehydrated, cramp or injury occur with much greater frequency.
Stretching muscles before and after exercise: Warming up by stretching the muscles which will be used during exercise is extremely important. It will ensure that those muscles are loose and ready for action, thus reducing the chance of an injury occurring. Additionally, a cooldown should be incorporated into any session. This will help the muscles cool down and ensure that the heart rate returns to normal.
Be careful and get to know techniques used to absorb impacts properly: Ensure that care is taken, whichever sport or exercise is being carried out. Also try to understand the correct way how to absorb an impact during an accident. Knowing the appropriate way to fall should become a natural movement to reduce the impact on the body.
If you are suffering from injuries when playing sports or exercising, don’t be afraid. You should arrange a visit to a specialist doctor who will analyze the severity of the injury and subsequently prescribe an appropriate form of treatment. The doctor will usually carry out an assessment and subsequent diagnosis of the injury by checking how far the injured body part can be extended, whether or not you can move your joint normally, and whether the injury is having an effect on your daily life. If it is deemed to be a minor injury, a course of physical therapy may be recommended. Alternatively, training in a way that builds muscle around the affected area may be utilized so that the injured body part makes a complete recovery to full strength.
Nevertheless, surgical treatment for sports related injuries can sometimes be the best option available. This can ensure that the injured body part makes a full recovery. However, this form of treatment will only be used when absolutely necessary.
M.D., Faculty of Medicine Rangsit University, 2003.