Injuries can happen at any time but they are especially prevalent in high-intensity sports. We’ve all seen the dramatic scenes when a player rolls around clutching their knee before limping to the sidelines or is injured in a collision and stretchered off the pitch.
But not all injuries are so obvious. Some develop more slowly and less dramatically due to overuse rather than trauma. Sometimes you feel a twinge but you’re able to play on and it’s not until later – possibly much later – that you become concerned.
By this point, a few days have probably passed and you’ve been trying to continue as usual. But you know something’s off. Something just doesn’t feel right.
So, what are the commonly missed signs of a sports injury? What symptoms should you never ignore or dismiss? There are quite a few to beware of but, before taking a look at them, let’s quickly run through common sports injuries.
An overview of sports injuries
A sports injury can be defined as damage to your body sustained during sports, exercise or athletic activity.
It’s not just elite athletes who are at risk of sports injuries. You may sustain a sports injury if you’re:
- Exercising above your fitness level
- Not wearing the right gear – invest in good shoes or protective equipment
- Skipping the warm up or cool down
- Taking part in contact sports that involve tackles or collisions
- Required to jump, run, pivot or quickly change direction.
Sports injuries commonly affect your joints and soft tissues, either due to sudden trauma or persistent overuse.
Sports injuries may affect your:
- Ankle – sprains are common in this area which includes 3 joints and several bones supported by cartilage, ligaments, muscles and tendons
- Calf – it’s easy to strain or even rupture your Achilles tendon
- Knee – this complex joint forms a hinge between your upper and lower leg. You may rupture your anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament or medial collateral ligament or sustain a multi-ligament knee injury and knee dislocation.
- Elbow – racquet sports can lead to an overuse injury known as tennis elbow
- Shoulder – rotator cuff injuries or dislocation are common
- Head – trauma can lead to a black eye, concussion or broken jaw.
5 sports injury signs you should never ignore
So, let’s say you’ve recently been for a run, finished a workout at the gym or played a game of footie. It was fine at the time but now you’re not feeling quite right. What signs should you look out for?
It’s natural to feel a little sore after a good workout. But that should disappear after a few days. Pain that lingers or that feels sharp can be a sign of injury.
If an area is sore and tender to the touch, pay attention. Try pressing the same area on the other side of your body – if there’s a noticeable difference, you need to find out why.
Swelling happens because your body rushes fluid and white blood cells to the affected area, releasing enzymes that break down injured tissues along with other mechanisms that rebuild it.
So, while there are positives to swelling, remember it is a sign that an injury has happened. Don’t ignore it. If it doesn’t settle down, seek medical attention.
- Limited movement
A healthy joint can move through its full range of motion. If you’re finding it hard to fully straighten or bend a joint or if it’s hard to move it properly, then go and see your doctor.
How can Dr Ross Radic help?
Your body will compensate for an injury, often in ways that ultimately trigger other problems. It’s important not to ignore what your body is telling you.
Dr Ross Radic is an orthopaedic surgeon with considerable experience in managing sports injuries. If you are concerned that you may have missed the signs and symptoms of a sports injury, please get in touch.
All information is general and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Dr Ross Radic can consult with you to determine if a particular treatment or procedure is right for you. A second opinion may help you decide on your options.