In a perfect world, medications would never produce side effects, operations would always be successful, and the best movie would win the Oscar. In that world, Harvard Men’s Health Watch would be in every mailbox, and exercise would continue to prevent disease and prolong life without causing any aches and pains. For better or worse, perfection can never be achieved in the real world. It’s a wonderful world, and exercise is wonderful for health, but people who exercise do run a risk of injury.
We use a holistic approach to healing the body at D&D Physcial Therapy Clinic, using a combination of massage, dry needling, Fsm and ultrasound.
Many sports injuries feel the same, but there are important differences among them. Here is a glossary of some common problems:
Sprains. Injuries to ligaments, the fibrous connective tissues that connect one bone to another. In first-degree sprains, the ligament is stretched; in second-degree sprains, some fibers are torn; in third-degree sprains, most or all of the fibers are torn. In general, first-degree sprains produce only pain and swelling, second-degree injuries are often accompanied by weakness and bluish discoloration due to bleeding, and third-degree sprains produce severe weakness and decreased mobility.
Strains. Injuries to muscles or tendons, the fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones. Commonly known as muscle pulls, strains also come in first-, second-, and third-degree varieties. Like sprains, strains are usually caused by a misstep or fall that places excessive force on a tendon or muscle, so that fibers are stretched or torn.
Tendinitis. Inflammation of a tendon, often caused by overuse or poor body mechanics. Pain is the major symptom, but warmth, swelling, and redness may occur. The pain is typically most severe at the start of exercise; it eases up during exercise, only to return with a vengeance afterward.
Fasciitis. Inflammation of the layer of fibrous tissue that covers many muscles and tendons. Overuse is often to blame. A common example is plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the sole of the foot, which plagues many walkers and runners.
Bursitis. Inflammation of the small, fluid-like sacs that cushion joints, muscles, or bones like miniature shock absorbers.
Arthritis and synovitis. Inflammation of a joint (arthritis) or the membrane that surrounds it (synovitis). Like bursitis, joint inflammation often occurs without being triggered by exercise, but both problems can also result from overuse or trauma. Pain and swelling (“water on the knee,” for example) are common symptoms.
Dislocations. Often very painful and disabling, dislocations occur when bones slip out of their proper alignment in a joint. A deformity is often visible, and the joint is unable to move properly. Although some athletes attempt to realign (reduce) a dislocation themselves, it should be done by a physician or highly experienced trainer or therapist.
Fractures. A disruption in the continuity and integrity of a bone. Except for broken toes and stress (hairline) fractures, nearly all fractures require skilled medical management.
Contusions. Bleeding into tissues caused by direct trauma — the “black and blue.”
Muscle cramps and spasms. Unduly strong and sustained muscle contractions that can be very painful (the “charley horse”). Gentle stretching will help relieve cramps; hydration and good conditioning help prevent them.
Lacerations and abrasions. Cuts and scrapes; small ones can be managed with soap and water and Band-Aids, but larger ones may require special dressings or sutures. Tetanus shots are not necessary if immunizations have been kept up to date with boosters every 10 years.