In general, sports and exercise injuries fall into two categories: overuse injuries and traumatic injuries.
Overuse injuries occur when we overstress the tissues and don’t allow enough time for recovery. Common overuse injuries include:
• muscle strains
• inflamed and painful tendons (tendinosis)
• pain at the front of the knee
• jumper’s knee (tendinopathy)
• shin pains, sometimes referred to as shin splints
• tight calves/Achilles
• sore heels.
The most common symptom of an overuse injury is pain, but you may also experience tingling, numbness, swelling, stiffness or weakness in the affected area.
Traumatic injuries are often the result of contact during sport and can happen whether or not you have a careful warm up.
Common traumatic injuries include:
• bruising (contusions) or cuts
• sprains and strains (e.g. ankle sprain, wrist sprain or knee ligament strain)
• fractures/ broken bones
• dislocations (when a joint ‘pops out’).
Common symptoms of acute injuries include sudden, severe pain, swelling, restricted movement and inability to bear weight. There may also be obvious signs of a dislocation or a broken bone.
When should I see a doctor?
Most overuse injures will get better with rest or a reduction of your activity levels, although it’s important to keep gently stretching the affected muscle or joint.
If you’re in a lot of pain after 24 hours and the injury hasn’t responded to simple measures such as ice and taking things gently, you should get medical help as soon as possible.
If you think there may be a fracture or dislocation then you should get medical attention as soon as you can.