Acute Injuries

Your Guide for This Year’s Sporting Season

With many of our “winter” sports already kicking off or fast approaching, I thought it would be timely to let you all know of some of the injuries you may face. The most common acute injuries occur to ligaments, muscles and tendons.

Ligaments are thickened connective tissue which connect bone to bone and are designed to increase the stability of a joint. Injuries to ligaments vary in severity and are graded.
Grade I sprain – a small proportion of the ligament fibres are damaged
Grade II sprain – somewhere between grade I and III
Grade III – complete tear of the ligament

Muscle (sprain or tear)
Muscles are often strained when they fail to handle demands placed on them. Some of the most common muscles that are injured include: hamstrings (back of thigh), quadriceps (from of thigh) and gastrocnemius (calf).
Similar to ligaments muscles are graded from I to III.
Grade I – a small number of fibres are torn. Pain but no loss of strength.
Grade II – significant amount of fibres are torn, loss of strength, pain and swelling.
Grade III – a complete tear of the muscle.

There are a number of factors which may predispose you to muscle injury, these may include:
– ineffective warm-up
– excessively tight muscles
– muscle imbalance
– previous injury
– faulty technique/biomechanics

What can you do?
– For the first 24 hours after injury
o apply R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
o avoid H.A.R.M (Heat, Alcohol, Running or exercise and Massage)
– consult your doctor or physiotherapist

What can a physiotherapist do?
– manage the initial swelling and pain
– develop a rehabilitation program (eg. strengthening and stretching exercises)
– provide hands on treatment to improve rehabilitation
– apply electrotherapy as required (eg. Ultrasound)
– as you return to sport your physiotherapist can examine you technique and biomechanics and work with you to alter these if they are faulty

Hopefully everyone can stay safe and injury free. Best of luck for the upcoming season.