Injuries among youths and children make up a large proportion of yearly cases of sports-related injuries in the UK. Whether it’s school sports activities or local under-18s sports leagues for football, rugby, hockey or netball, millions of young patients visit clinics and hospitals each year due to an acute or chronic sports injury.
What Does Acute Sports Injury Mean?
There are generally two main types of sports injury: acute and chronic. An acute sports injury is the result of a specific fall, hit, collision, or other kinds of sports trauma.
It could be the result of a specific action of one individual, or the consequence of two or more people interacting physically during a sporting event, such as a rugby tackle.
However, this does not mean that acute injuries only happen in contact sports. Sometimes an athlete may hurt themselves playing badminton or tennis, experiencing a twisted ankle due to a trip or fall. Many sports injuries are also the result of individuals falling onto hard ground.
Features of Acute Sports Injuries
- The immediate and ongoing pain
- Sudden loss of function
In contrast, chronic sports injuries are often a result of overuse or repetitive motion during sports, which leads to the deterioration of muscle and joint stability over time. For example, a cricket bowler may develop a chronic injury in their shoulder over the course of several years, rather than as a result of one particular game.
These injuries are particularly common in endurance sports such as swimming, running and cycling – resulting from overusing one body area while playing a sport or exercising over a long period.
Features of Chronic Sports Injuries
- Pain occurs only during activity (or increases significantly during participation)
- Pain can be reduced over time with effective stretching and corrective exercises
Common Sports Injuries
The most common acute sports injuries vary based on an athlete’s age. This is because when you are young, the body is still developing and can be more susceptible to damage in certain areas, such as the bone.
Also, as children are required to partake in regular health and fitness activities as part of their school curriculum, this can increase the chance of certain injuries happening.
For older athletes, injury to ligaments and joints are more common (ACL tears, sprains etc.), as our bones are now stronger. Our bodies are much more stable physically and we have learned to adjust our movements to avoid injury and damage.
Also, the amount of contact sports adults partake in usually decreases dramatically past a certain age.
Common Youth Sports Injuries
Fractures are one of the most common sports injuries for under 18s. Fortunately, most fractures are easily treated. Other common injuries for youths and children include:
- Kneecap dislocations
- Shoulder dislocations
- Ankle fractures
- Ankle sprains
- Collar bone dislocations
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury
How to Treat Sports Injuries
The right treatment for a sports injury can vary widely based on the specific type of injury and its severity. The first step always involves having the injury examined by an adult (ideally a sports coach, teacher or someone with first aid experience). They will generally advise you to follow RICE as an initial protective measure:
- Rest the injury
- Ice the injury once every hour
- Compress the injury
- Elevate the injury above the heart to reduce swelling
Sometimes, if the injury is deemed mild, the pain will simply subside after a short period of time. However, serious injuries will come with longer-lasting, more severe pain and you may need to visit a doctor. Treatment for serious injuries can include the following:
- Long-term rest
- Small hospital procedure
- Sports massage
- Myofascial release
- Yoga or stretching programs
Sports injury rehabilitation through graded exercises is also an important part of recovering from acute sports injuries and can involve a multi-disciplinary approach focused on evaluation, treatment and prevention of injuries.
Treating Your Sports Injury In London
If you or your child have experienced a sports injury in London and would like to explore effective treatment methods, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and we’ll explain some of the potential programs we run at Acubody for both youths and adults.