How to Spot a Sports Injury : Types, Prevention And Orthopaedic Surgery

Image Credit: Action Sport Physio

Sporting activity usually involves a lot of intense physical activity. When the body is over exerted during physical exercise, it is one of the primary causes of an injury. You may be running across a football field and twist an ankle, or you may be performing the high jump and twist an elbow, or you may be tackled during a physical activity such as rugby. Statistically, sports is one of the leading causes of injury, and there are many individuals who have experienced some sort of sports injury. 

One of the best ways to determine if you have an injury, is to consult with your orthopaedic surgeon. If you’re experiencing any symptoms such as joint instability or even head pain after a tackle, you may be suffering from one of the conditions that are outlined below. 

One of the best ways to prevent a sports injury is to understand your body. It is always a good idea to have an understanding of what to expect during sporting activities. If you are a parent of active children, you can learn about the possible injuries that they can face during their sporting activities. As another preventative measure, it is always a good idea to have a medical kit on hand. This article is designed to be a comprehensive guide to some of the sports conditions that are commonly logged at orthopaedic surgeons or sports doctor’s offices. 


During sporting activities such as rugby, American football and soccer, it is possible for there to be head collisions. These could be induced in sport during tackles, or be the result of an impact once there is a fall. When there is an impact to the head, there are some injuries that are traumatic. These are known as concussions. Due to the nature of sporting activities, the fast pace and the impact, concussions are one of the most frequently documented sports injuries. 


Physical activity does put a lot of stresses on the body’s physical frame. While in motion, various impacts to the body can result in bone fractures and stress fractures. In some instances, a direct sharp impact may induce the bone to snap. In this instance, the injury is known as a bone fracture. In some instances, in cases where continuous stress is being applied to a section of the body, a stress induced fracture may occur. 


There are various parts of the body that contain hinge joints. In the instance that there’s a sudden rotation, or direct impact that causes the hinge joint to shift, there is a possibility of dislocation. With the help of your orthopaedic surgeon or a physiotherapist, this condition is one that will require immediate medical attention, but can be restored with some physical force. 


Our bodies are in constant motion during athletic activities. These activities utilise joints such as knees and ankles. Our joints are composed of the bones, the muscles, tendons and even the cartilage that provides the cushioning in the joint as motion is taking place in our bodies. Various sports related impacts can actually damage the cartilage and induce stresses and strains that result in microtears of the various soft tissues in the joints. 


Sports injuries are variable in nature, but even in the variations, there are patterns observed in the characteristics of the injuries received. Your orthopaedic surgeon will personalise your treatment to ensure that your treatment will be according to your age and body type. An in depth look at your medical history will enable your doctor to identify the suitable plan of action. Once the root cause of your problem is diagnosed, you are well on your way to restoring an active lifestyle. 

Your orthopaedic surgeon will take the time to ensure that your symptoms are managed. With the different root causes of orthopaedic pain, the measures to manage what is currently your issue will differ with your case. While you are consulting with your doctor, you can take the time to actually listen to your body and ensure that you are completely aware of what you are feeling. Knowing the specifics of your pain symptoms, coupled with your sports history, will enable your orthopaedic surgeon to be able to discuss treatment options for you. With more detail, treatment accuracy will be increased. 


After your treatment plan is implemented, it may take a few weeks or even months for you to actually recover. It will be very important for you to understand the recovery process for your healing. Understanding how your body heals will be key to ensuring that you’re not stressing your body, and inducing further injuries because you haven’t fully healed yet. Knowing your body will be important regardless of whether you’re a professional athlete, or were injured during a jogging incident. When it comes to the healing of parts like bones, the process is one that cannot be taken too lightly. 

The various factors that are incorporated into your healing process include the extent of your injury, your lifestyle, and how painful the injury was. In your recovery plan, there will be an option to integrate physical therapy, so that you can gradually restore yourself to full activity. Not all sports related injuries require surgical intervention. The advantages of physical therapy include the ability to strengthen muscles and the body’s flexibility.

In terms of current technologies, it is now possible for treatments to include biologics that will facilitate your healing process. With the ability to inject healing therapies such as stem cells and even growth enhancing agents, you can regrow certain critical parts of the body that take a long time on their own to regenerate. This includes aspects of the joints like the cartilage.


There are times during the healing process where the surface treatments will not be able to restore full activity. After an initial consultation and treatment, the next best option will be to look into the matter some more. Via the utilisation of imaging techniques such as X-rays and MRI’s, the internal workings of the body can then be clearly seen. With these diagnostic tools, your orthopaedic surgeon will then be able to identify the root cause of your symptoms and your pain. Where relevant, your orthopaedic surgeon will take the time to actually conduct microsurgeries such as arthroscopic surgery. This is a minimally invasive procedure that will facilitate faster recovery. 


Once the surgery is completed, the next phases of the process involve at home care. Before the surgery, your orthopaedic surgeon will let you know what items you’ll need to have on hand to ensure that you have the optimum care at home. Limit your driving during the healing process, and arrange for someone to drive you to any critical activities such as for doctor visits and physical therapy. Ideally, you will have purchased these items before you actually have the surgery performed. This will save you from having to gather items post the surgery. Life is easier when you are prepared. 

The surgical procedure requires you to ensure that the following are in place, in order to simulate the hospital environment. With limited mobility, it will be key to ensure that as a patient, there is ready access to amenities such as: 

  1. Kitchen: Since mobility will be limited, it will be ideal for you to be in a bedroom near to your kitchen. If your home is split level, if your meals can be brought to you by your spouse or children, that can also help to keep the feet still so that you can heal. 
  2. Restroom: If you have an ensuite, this is ideal since the bathroom will be a few steps away from your bed. 


  1. Anti-inflammatory Treatments: The healing process takes time, and there are a few things that you can do to facilitate the healing of your ankle. Post surgery, there may be some minor swelling, which you can treat at home with some prescribed treatments or anti-inflammatories such as Tylenol or Advil. 
  2. A Foot rest or Pillows to elevate the feet above the heart while you are resting. 
  3. Crutches, Boots  or Splints for Mobility: These are critical for weight management after surgery. 

As with all healing processes, the healing times will vary, but your doctor will ensure that you have the appropriate healing plan. Your health is your wealth. If the post operative care is as outlined, you’ll be well on your way to a full life after completion. To your health! 

Reference Article: 

  1. Sports Injury Treatment And Orthopaedic Surgery:

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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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