Sports-Related Injuries

Most sports injuries are due to either trauma or overuse of muscles or joints. The majority are caused by minor trauma involving muscles, ligaments, tendons, or bones.

The most common sports-related injuries include the following:

  • Contusions (bruises): An injury to soft tissue. It is often caused by blunt force such as a kick or fall, and results in pain, swelling, and discoloration.
  • Sprains: Stretching or tearing of a ligament. Sprains often affect the ankles, knees, or wrists.
  • Strains: A twist, pull, or tear of a muscle or tendon, often caused by overuse, force, or stretching. 
  • Fractures: A break in the bone often caused by a blow or a fall. A fracture can range from a simple hairline fracture (a thin fracture that may not run through the entire bone) to a compound fracture, in which the broken bone breaks through the skin. Stress fractures are weak spots or small cracks in the bone caused by continuous overuse.
  • Dislocation: Occurs when extreme force is put on a ligament, allowing the ends of two connected bones to separate. Stress on joint ligaments can lead to dislocation of the joint. 

Treatment and Rehabilitation for Sports-Related Injuries

A rehabilitation program for sports injuries is designed to meet the needs of the individual patient, depending on the type and severity of the injury. Active involvement of the patient and family is vital to the success of the program.

The goal of rehabilitation is to help the patient return to the highest possible level of function, while improving daily life physically, emotionally, and socially. In order to help reach these goals, sports injury rehabilitation programs may include the following:

  • Activity restrictions
  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Exercise programs
  • Conditioning exercises to help prevent further injury
  • Heat or cold applications and whirlpool treatments
  • Applications of braces, splints, or casts
  • Use of crutches or wheelchairs
  • Medications
  • Patient and family education
  • Injections or other pain management techniques
  • Surgical referral

Why Choose Columbia for Sports-Related Injury Care

Our physicians are highly skilled in diagnosing and treating sports-related conditions. We perform a thorough diagnostic evaluation to find the cause of your pain and plan the most conservative treatment possible, which may include exercise, lifestyle changes, medications, and if needed, injections or other pain management techniques. Our physicians may use imaging to guide injections so the medication is placed precisely. We work closely with Columbia orthopedic surgeons when a sports-related injury may need surgical treatment.