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Athletics

 Introduction
The Athletics Injuries can occur during either Track events like running or Field events like jumping and throwing.
Common Injuries
Some of the common injuries associated with athletics are:

  • Back muscle pain
    Overuse and repetitive actions lead to a pulled back muscle or a back muscle spasm; it can be healed quickly too. There will be a localized back pain with back muscle tenderness.
  • Groin Pull
    Inner thigh muscles or groin gets strained due to the side-to-side pushing off motion, if accompanied with swelling, seeing a doctor is recommended.
  • Hamstring Strain
    Overstretching movements like hurdling etc. can cause tear in the hamstring muscles. This can vary from a mild to a severe tear.
  • Foot & Ankle Injuries
    • Ankle Sprain
      Overstretched ankle ligaments cause sprains, severity varies from a mild twisted ankle or rolled ankle sprain to severe complete ligament ruptures, avulsion fractures or broken bones. Popping or cracking sound with swelling, bruising and ankle pain are the symptoms.
    • Achilles Tendonitis
      Repetitive action leads to inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which causes pain.
    • Shin Splints
      The shin pain along the inside or front edges of the shin caused by overuse with poor foot and leg biomechanics and errors in training.
  • Knee Injury
    • ACL Tear
      Sudden stops or side collisions can strain or tear the ACL, which holds the leg bone to the knee.
    • Patellofemoral Syndrome
      Repetitive movement of the kneecap against the thighbone can damage the tissues under the kneecap.
    • Runner’s Knee
      Chondromalacia Patella, a condition in which the cartilage under the kneecap breaks down leading to pain in front, behind and around the kneecap and also when you walk downhill. Usually caused by overuse of the knee or from a fall.
  • Elbow Injuries:
    Repetitive use of the elbows can lead to the conditions Tennis Elbow or Golfer’s Elbow, with pain in the outside and inside of the elbow.
  • Cramps
    A muscle spasm caused by spontaneous electrical activity of a large number of skeletal muscle fibers caused by overuse that fatigues the muscles, dehydration etc.
  • Lower Leg Compartment Syndromes
    Usually runners experience this due to the high repetitive loads experienced during running. The lower leg, which is divided into 4-5 compartments with different muscles, nerves, blood vessels and tendons running through these tendons, compression of any of these elements cause pain and loss of function.

Causes

  • Uneven or unstable ground can cause injuries like ankle sprains etc.
  • Fatigue
  • Improper warm-ups and cool-downs.
  • Poor Running Mechanics

Prevention and Treatment

  • Wearing proper sports attire including footwear, correctly can prevent injuries
  • Exercises that strengthen and add flexibility to the different body joints are recommended.
  • Core-strengthening exercises are also recommended.
  • Swelling and faster healing can be initiated by following the PRICE principle:
    • P: Protect from injury using a splint, pad or crutch.
    • R: Restrict activity to prevent worsening of the injury.
    • I: apply Ice every couple of hours for the first 48 hours.
    • C: apply Compression with an elastic bandage to reduce swelling.
    • E: Elevate injured area.

 

 

Authored by Dr Banarji B.H - Shoulder Surgeon, Bangalore

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