Athletic Injuries, Prevention & Management

A "stitch" is a common abdominal pain usually associated with running sports. It is brought about by various physiological factors. Among the more common causes are muscle spasm of the diaphragm or eating too much and too soon prior to exercise. The muscle spasms of the diaphragm usually arise because not enough oxygen is getting to the muscle. This can be due to poor conditioning, improper breathing techniques, and/or ischemia of the diaphragm. Other factors include; constipation, intestinal gas, distended spleen, or weak abdominal muscles. Signs and Symptoms Sharp pain on either...Read more
Injuries whether minor or major, will happen. How they are dealt with an initially treated will directly relate to how soon the athlete can return to activity. 1. Stop what you are doing Adhering to this first principle can potentially prevent a chronic or overuse problem from developing. Injuries that are incorrectly looked after are often complicated when the individual continues to "work through the pain". 2. Ice Apply the ice to the affected area for 15-20 minuutes per hour as often as possible in the first 24-48 hours. 3. Compression Applying compression to the injured area can...Read more
A stretching or tearing of ligament occurs when joints are moved beyond their normal range of motion and the collagen fibers within the ligament are pulled apart. Joint "sprains" most frequently occur at the knee (medially), the ankle (laterally), and the acromioclavicular joint of the shoulder (shoulder separation). Ligament injuries are graded by physicians as follows: Grade 1 (mild) The ligament is stretched but still intact. Bleeding is minimal, and there is mild pain and swelling with no instability. There may have been a feeling of "popping". Grade 2 (moderate) This...Read more
Inflammation of the tendon and/or tendon sheath is referred to as tendinitis. Small tears can develop as a result of overuse, gravity (traction stress), posture (rounded shoulders), and muscle imbalance. The inflammation and resulting formation of scar tissue (adhesions) prevent the tendon from gliding smoothly within the tendon sheath. A cycle of swelling and irritation occurs causing chronic tendon problems. Tendinitis most often occurs in tendons that are tight and/or weak. The patella (kneecap), achilles (heel), biceps, and rotator cuff (shoulder) tendons are especially prone to...Read more
A hip pointer is a bruise or muscle tear over the pelvic bone usually caused by a direct blow. The crest of the hip is the location of several muscle tendon attachment sites, and any direct blow may result in significant soft tissue injury. The injury is most likely to occur in contact sports such as football or rugby. Hip pointers are very severe injuries and must be appropriately treated in order to avoid permanent limitations in movement. Signs and Symptoms Immediate, often incapacitating, pain in the region of crest of the hip (iliac crest), often tender to touch. An inability to walk,...Read more
In the muscle-tendon unit, the area where the muscle joins the tendon is often the weakest link in the chain. Consequently, this is often the location where acute ruptures (or complete tearing) of the tendon occur. The tendon, however, can also completely tear away from its bony attachment. In sport, ruptures of the Achilles tendon and biceps tendon are the most common tendon ruptures. Tendon ruptures often occur when quick, explosive actions are involved or after prolonged tendinitis where there were micro tears of the tendon. Signs and Symptoms Loss of muscle function. Localized pain...Read more
A pre-determined emergency action plan allows for the proper assessment and care of athletes who have suffered injury or sudden illness. In emergency situations, the luxury of time is not available. Injuries can be dealt with quickly and efficiently if you have a clearly defined emergency action plan. Whenever it is practical or appropriate, the emergency action plan should be prepared in conjunction with local paramedics, hospital emergency departments, sports physicians, school nurses, and other health care professionals associated with the team. As part of the plan, assign key roles to...Read more
As the winter weather approaches we might be thinking "What I can do during this down time to improve my sports performance?" My suggestion is "take time to improve your global flexibility or mobility." The words "flexibility" or "mobility" will both be used in this article and can be defined as the broad range of movement (ROM) in a joint or series of joints. It is of significant importance to all types of training. Developing an appreciation of the flexibility needs will help to prevent injuries and to improve performance. Unfortunately, this type of...Read more
Hyphema is a bleeding into the anterior chamber of the eye, as a result of blunt trauma, and is recognized by a pool of blood partially filling the iris (coloured part) of the eye. This is a very serious injury. Any direct trauma should be managed with extreme caution because of the chance of permanent damage to the eye, leading to blindness. Signs and Symptoms Immediate pain and a high degree of anxiety. Athlete usually covers the eye with his/her hand. Athlete may complain of seeing spots or stars and of decreased vision. Vision may be completely blocked if chamber is completely filled...Read more
Back pain is a common complaint of many individuals. It is an ailment that will afflict 8 out of 10 people at some point in their lives. Although an athlete may be in better overall physical condition than someone who is sedentary, they are very much at risk of sustaining a back injury due to the many repetitive and excessive stresses and strains that they subject their body to. Paddlers and rowers subject themselves to numerous factors that can lead to neck and back pain. The highly repetitive nature of paddle sports involve high torque, awkward asymmetric mechanics, and an unstable platform...Read more