Athletic Injuries, Prevention & Management

Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs lined with synovial membrane that are usually located in or close to joints. They function to reduce friction created by the movements of skin, tendons, and muscles over rough bony surfaces. Bursae may become inflamed as a result of excess frictional rubbing (overuse) or direct trauma or prolonged point pressure. Bursitis is an irritation or inflammation of a bursa sac. As a protective mechanism, bursae swell in order to limit movements that increase both friction and subsequentRead more
Caused by a fall on the outstretched hand, a scaphoid fracture often goes unreported and unrecognized for many months after it has occurred. Wrist injuries are common and usually consist of minor sprains, strains and contusions. A "sprained" wrist should never be taken lightly and should always be considered a fracture until proven otherwise. Anatomical Details The scaphoid bone is located on the thumb side of the wrist. It can be palpated by compressing between the radius and second row of carpal bones. It is important to remember that the wrist can move in any one of six different...Read more
Shoulder separations, also known as an acromio-clavicular (or A/C) separation, usually results from a direct blow to the shoulder, a fall on an outstretched hand, or a direct blow that pushes the shoulder forward. It is a sprain or rupture of the ligaments connecting the clavicle and the acromion process. There are three grades of shoulder separations: Grade 1 involves only a slight sprain of the acromioclavicular ligaments. Grade 2 involves some ruptured and torn ligaments. Grade 3 is a complete tearing of all ligaments (with obvious deformity). A severe sprain may cause nerve and artery...Read more
Acute shoulder injuries commonly occur in contact sports. A direct blow to the front or side of the shoulder, or a hard fall on an outstretched hand may cause the clavicle (collarbone) to fracture. This is one of the most common fractures in sports. Most of these fractures in the middle of the bone, where there is less ligament support. Signs and Symptoms Pain in the front of the shoulder along the clavicle, usually focused in the middle of the bone. All arm and shoulder movements are painful. A "step" deformity can be evident. Swelling usually comes later (within 4-6 hours). The...Read more
Often incorrectly described as "shin splints", tibial stress syndrome is an overuse injury usually caused by running. The condition is characterized by pain and tenderness in the lower leg, usually along the front edge of the shin. There are many different opinions as to the specific cause of tibial stress, including: changing training techniques overuse problematic footwear the shape and structure of the leg training surface (or change in training surface). Signs and Symptoms Pain and tenderness developing along the front edge of the shin where the muscles are attached. Pain can...Read more
The rotator cuff muscles, used for example in throwing motions, are commonly injured as a result of chronic overuse. This usually occurs when the athlete is weak and throws forcefully or incorrectly. A stretch or tear of the muscle or a swelling and impingement of the tendon is the result. Rotator cuff injuries are common in swimming and throwing sports because of the frequency of overhead arm movements. Anatomical Details There are four muscles that make up the "rotator cuff" - supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. These muscles stabilize the shoulder and...Read more
A Plantar's Wart (Verruca Plantaris) is a benign soft tissue lesion on the sole of the foot. They are caused by a viral infection that enters the foot through a break in the skin or pressure area and are common in adolescents. They are extremely contagious. Signs and Symptoms A plantar wart has a distinct edge with a central core. It usually does not project beyond the skin surface, but appears to grow inward. The wart may appear as a small, painful black dot in a centre surrounded by a clear callus area. It can sometimes resemble a black seed and is related to dry pinpoint bleeding. The...Read more
Joint stability depends not only upon ligaments and muscles, but also on the bony architecture of the joint. Dislocation (a complete disruption of the joint) and subluxation (a partial dislocation followed by relocation) can damage the ligaments, nerves, joint surfaces (cartilage), as well as the bones that make up the joint. The most common dislocations and subluxations in sport occur to the shoulder, elbow, fingers, and knee (kneecap). In the shoulder, falling on an outstretched arm (arm/shoulder slipped out) can cause either condition. Signs and Symptoms Pain is usually severe, even upon...Read more
A broken nose is an actual break in the cartilage or bone of the nose caused by a direct blow. It is one of the most common fractures of the face, usually caused by the separation of the frontal portion of the facial bones or as the separation of the cartilage within the nose itself. Sometimes the injury can involve both. Signs and Symptoms Excessive bleeding Extreme pain Deformity Inability to breathe through nose On-Site Management ABC's. Make sure the blood is not impeding the athlete's airway, and that the athlete is breathing properly. Check for a pulse and monitor the heart rate...Read more
Compartment syndrome results from increased pressure in the muscle compartment, usually of the lower leg. The condition leads to pain, decreased circulation and compromised muscle function. The increased compartment pressure may be due to increased muscle size with training or trauma to the area that involves swelling. If left unchecked, the decreased circulation to the muscles decreases the amount of oxygen available to the tissues and can lead to irreversible tissue death within the compartment. Compartment syndrome can be chronic in nature, developing gradually over the course of activity...Read more