6 Tips on When to See A Sports Injury Doctor - An online health& Fitness Blog to know more about health, fitness & food.

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6 Tips on When to See A Sports Injury Doctor

Engaging in sports is a good way to remain healthy and lead an active lifestyle. However, engaging in physical activities which involve the coordinated motion of muscles, ligaments and bones in our body could potentially result in aches or injuries leading to feeling of pain, swelling or aches.

Some Common Sports Injuries

Whether you’re a professional athlete or just a weekend warrior, chances are that you could possibly injure yourself during the process. In such situations it would be advisable to seek health care for proper diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. Some of the common injuries which could occur due to sports activities include -
Sprain or strain of muscles
Fracture of bones
Ligament or tendon tears
Dislocations of joints

Common Causes of Injuries

The degrees of seriousness of these injuries could vary from person to person and is heavily influenced by the individual’s personal health record however, studies have found certain factors to be recurring reasons for injuries. These include -

       Poor training practices
       Use of improper equipment
       Lack of conditioning
       Not warming-up or stretching properly etc.

Types of Sports Injuries

According to sports injury specialists, there are mainly 3 types of conditions which would require urgent medical attention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. They include:

       Acute injuries- Include Sprains, strains, fractures, dislocations, growth plate separation, torn cartilage, bruises, cuts, scrapes, pinched nerves, herniated disks etc.

       Overuse injuries - Tendonitis; shin splints; stress fractures; growth plate problems like Osgood-Schlatter, Sever’s disease, or Little League elbow; bursitis; fasciitis; compartment syndrome; nerve entrapment; spondylolysis etc.

       Illnesses or serious individual medical conditions - Concussions, Fever, Cardiac & Respiratory diseases, Heat injuries etc.

Why Early Recognition is Crucial in the Treatment Process

The early recognition of the injury is absolutely vital. Sure, major injuries such as muscle tears could be detected easily however injuries of implicit nature like overuse injuries (such as tendonitis or stress fractures), develop over time and often have muted symptoms. Identifying such injuries could be delayed until it has grappled an entire muscle or ligament and thus would require major medical intervention measure such as surgeries to heal

If you feel the injury is not that serious in nature or doesn’t recur, you could consult a primary health centre. Most mild injuries could be treated using over the counter inflammatory medicines (mostly painkillers) and by adopting the “RICE” method.

       Rest - Take a few days off from the activity to give your body time to heal.
       Ice - Use cold packs to reduce swelling.
       Cover - Wrap the sore area with an elastic bandage to reduce swelling and provide stability.
       Elevate - Prop an injured foot or leg on pillows to reduce swelling

Whether the injury is chronic or acute, it is never a good idea to push through pain. In fact, doing so can lead to further damage. Early recognition and treatment are crucial to ensure a proper rehabilitation and return to normal activities. Therefore, knowing when to consult a sports injury doctor is an important factor in ensuring that one remains injury free.

Sometimes, the injuries might be of much more serious nature and would require expert medical attention ASAP. Here are 6 tips on when to see a sports injury doctor.

1. Significant swelling in muscles

Swelling refers to any abnormal enlargement in the body. It forms as the result of inflammation or a build-up of fluid due to the increased movement of fluid and white blood cells into the injured area. This results in the release of chemicals and the compression of nerves in the area of injury causing pain.

The body intends to use the pain and swelling as a warning sign to the individual to prevent him/her from using the injured part, to protect it from further injury. However, at times, the body's response could be excessive, resulting in severe agony to the person. If not treated appropriately, the swelling can become chronic, or long term. Chronic swelling leads to tissues becoming rigid than their healthy counterpart and becoming more susceptible to future injuries.

2. Knee pain when you bear weight

Due to their constant use, our knees are the most susceptible body part to overuse injuries. Most knee injuries are caused by an external force bending or twisting the knee in a manner that it was not anatomically designed for. A twisted knee can cause damage to the ligaments and cartilage. High-force injuries such as sports-related injuries and motor vehicle accidents can disrupt multiple parts of the knee anatomy, causing multiple types of knee injuries.

3. Numbness or tingling in the region

Numbness and tingling generally results from some sort of nerve issue. Numbness refers to loss of sensation. Also known as ‘paraesthesia’, numbness and tingling most often occurs in the feet, hands, arms and legs, but can affect any part of the body.

Numbness and tingling that lasts more than a day requires a medical diagnosis. These symptoms may be indicators of some nerve damage which could result in long term issues. Any numbness or tingling after an injury needs immediate medical attention, and an individual should not hesitate before contacting a nerve specialist.

4. Shooting nerve pain

Nerve pain is usually due to damaged nerves that send false signals resulting in chronic pain. Some individuals having certain medical conditions could develop unusual triggers making them hyper-sensitive to certain conditions.  For example, individuals with herpes zoster, can’t tolerate clothing or sheets touching the infected area. Other nerve damage can result in painful body positions during standing or sitting.

5. Recurrent pain that gets better but comes back again

Recurring pains are also symptoms of some sort of nerve damage. Nerve damage could often result in sensations of shooting or burning pain. It often is the result of nerve damage or a malfunctioning nervous system. The impact of nerve damage is a change in nerve function both at the site of the injury and areas around it.

6. Pain that lingers despite a period of taking it easy

Such pains could be an indicator of chronic pain. It occurs when your body continues to send pain signals to your brain, even after an injury heals. Chronic pain is usually caused by an initial injury, such as a back sprain or pulled muscle. It’s believed that chronic pain develops after nerves become damaged. The nerve damage makes pain more intense and long lasting. Chronic pain can limit your mobility and reduce your flexibility, strength, and endurance, and make even carrying out daily tasks and activities difficult.

Diagnosis with such symptoms are red flags that point out the requirement of consulting a sports medicine specialist. Whilst primary care doctors can treat sports-related injuries to an extent, a sports medicine specialist would be much more experienced in treating sports injuries and specializes in the latest therapies to help you heal faster.

Choosing the Right Treatment

The particular sports injury doctor you would require, and the treatment plan that works for you, the healing period for injuries, and so on, would vary from person to person. Some of the important factors that should be considered while choosing the treatment plan would include your lifestyle, your injury record, your treatment preference. The trick is to find an expert sports injury doctor who will understand your needs.

The individual must understand that proper treatment and healing are time consuming and would require constant rapport and dialogue between the doctor and the patient, along with patience to stick to the plan until the injury is completely healed.
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