Sports-Related Injuries: A Concern for All Activity Levels

Primary Care Physicians Advise Patients on the Ins and Outs of Increased Physical Activity

DAYTON, Ohio (September 13, 2011) – As students return to the classroom this fall, many of them return to the gym or field for fall sports. With another sports season, there are sure to be new sports-related injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, injuries from organized and unorganized sports account for 775,000 emergency room visits each year for children ages five to 14, making sports-related injuries the most frequent reason for an emergency room visit for 12- to 17-year-olds. Some of the most common sports-related injuries include: sprains and strains, knee injuries, swollen muscles, Achilles tendon injuries, shin splints, dislocations, fractures and dehydration. Other common cases are heat stroke or dehydration, especially in the warmer months, and staph infections that result from bacteria present on shared athletic equipment.

While sports-related injuries might seem to only impact athletes, anyone participating in some form of physical activity, including adults, can experience these types of injuries.

“It’s very common for adults who overdo it in their workout or take on different types of physical activity to experience sports-related injuries,” said Dr. Tracie Bolden of Fairfield Road Physicians. “The older a person is, generally the longer and more difficult the recovery process can be.”

In the event that a sports-related injury occurs, proper treatment is essential for a full recovery. One of the most basic treatment methods for acute injuries such as sprains and strains is RICE—rest, ice, compression and elevation. Taking a break from physical activity will allow the injured area to heal properly—continued activity could cause more harm. Also, applying a combination of ice and compression, such as a cold pack and wrapping the injured area with an elastic bandage, while keeping the area elevated will help to reduce pain and swelling.

“Rest is key. Many people think two or three days of rest will get them back to normal—that’s just not true,” said Dr. Bolden. “Most muscular and skeletal injuries take weeks for full recovery and then rehabilitation is key to preventing re-injury.”

There are steps people can take to stay healthy during physical activity and prevent injuries. Stretching and warming up, hydrating at regular intervals, and knowing proper techniques to use are a few simple steps people can take to prepare their bodies for increased physical activity. Physicals also help an individual and his or her primary care physician identify potential risk factors and preventive steps for sports-related injuries. Finally, taking it slow and easing into new types of physical activities is easier on the body and can prevent injuries.

“I recommend people start with low impact activities such as swimming or walking if they’re just starting out,” said Bolden. “Once a body adjusts to new types of exercise, the person will feel strong and be less likely to experience a sports-related injury.”

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