May 23, 2020

All specialists and professionals related to physical education and medicine recommend to all kinds of people the frequent practice of physical exercise, to provoke beneficial and healthy effects in the organism, as well as to increase the quality of life.

The practice of this physical exercise can lead in singular occasions health risks, causing injuries in the subject that practice. Therefore it is necessary to respect some guidelines to prevent the risk of suffering a sports injury. It is in the analysis of these guidelines where I want to focus the attention of this article.

Conceptualization of sports injury

The injury is the bodily harm or detriment caused by a wound, stroke or illness. According to this definition, we can say that a sports injury is the damage that occurs in the human body as a result of sports practice.


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The definition of a sports injury would be the damage that occurs in a certain tissue as a result of sports practice or physical exercise. Depending on the mechanism of injury and onset of symptoms can be classified as acute or overuse.

Most frequent types of injuries produced in the practice of physical activity

There are many different types of sports injuries according to the parameter that we analyze. The most frequent sports injuries are:

Muscle Injuries

Two types of injuries are distinguished according to the type of trauma:

Direct trauma: Accidentally caused by external agents and can be: bruises and/or wounds.

(A) Contusion: Closed trauma without skin rupture, which is produced by the collision of a body surface against an external agent acting by pressure causing crushing when the muscles are under tension. It affects the skin and subcutaneous tissue to bones depending on the intensity of the trauma.

B) Wound: A traumatic injury to the ruptured skin caused by a violent blow or shock. There is a danger of infection. Wounds can be punctured, incised or blunt depending on the agent causing it.

By indirect trauma: Produced mainly by internal factors and can be: elongations and/or strains, pull, tear muscular rupture.

C) Elongation/distension: Stretching in the muscle without rupture of muscle fibers or localized muscular anatomical lesions. It causes diffuse pain throughout the muscle when asked for an action.

D) Tug: Injury more affected than elongation, resulting in rupture of muscle fibrils, producing a small hematoma due to rupture of vessels, localizing the pain in that particular area of the muscle.

E) Tearing: Injury similar to pull but more affected by increasing the sensation of pain, appearing swelling. If the tear is large, surgical intervention is necessary.

F) Muscle rupture is the most severe muscle injury produced by the absence of synergism between the agonist and antagonist muscles, or by extreme contraction of the muscle. It produces a sharp pain that is accentuated when the muscle contracts and is relieved in a resting situation. The rupture can be partial if it only affects bundles or total muscle fibers if there is a separation between the muscular bundles.


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Tendon injuries

A) Tendonitis: Inflammation of the tendon, producing a spontaneous pain the moment there is pressure. The pain is calming as the body temperature increases and the amount of movement. It is a frequent injury caused by poor use of footwear or by exercising on excessively hard pavements, among other causes.

B) Tenosynovitis: A sports injury characterized by inflammation of the synovial sheaths that cover the tendon. It is caused by a contusion and causes a strong intense pain, appearing swelling and impossibility of movement.

Bone Injuries

A) Periostitis: The injury that causes an inflammation of the periosteum (membrane that covers the bone). It is common in the anterior part of the tibia and the ribs. It produces a localized pain that calms with rest and reappears with physical activity while there is inflammation.

B) Fractures: An injury that causes an interruption in the continuity of the bone due to a strong trauma.
Fractures can be of two types:
Complete: When the bone is divided into two or more parts.
Incomplete: When the rupture is not total on the transverse axis of the bone; Are called fissures.
In both, there is an intense pain with functional impotence and evident deformity.

Ligament injuries

A) Sprain: It is a distension (twisting) or rupture of the soft parts of the joint, caused by a movement that has exceeded the normal limits of elasticity of the joint. There are different grades, from grade one, to grade three that would be the rupture of the ligament itself (desertion of the ligament of the articular surface to which it is attached). It is usually produced by a false movement or by a blow on the joint with the supported member. It is usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and functional impotence.

Injuries to the joints

A) Dislocation: Defined as the partial or total loss of the relationships between the bony surfaces forming a joint. The most common are usually on the shoulder and elbow. Pain appears at the time of injury and a deformity of the important area due to the delocalization of the bony pieces.

B) Traumatic arthritis: direct or indirect closed joint trauma, characterized by pain and swelling in the joint, can also produce synovial effusion or haemarthrosis. It occurs frequently in players and players of basketball, handball, and volleyball, giving on the fingers and wrists.

C) Lesions in the meniscus of the knee: as a result of direct or indirect trauma, producing joint effusion and functional limitation among other symptoms.


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Injury prevention

In order to prevent injury, we must bear in mind several aspects such as what type of subsequent activity we are going to perform, how long it will last or how intense we will give it, among others. And with this data can act taking into account some considerations and adjusting other factors continuously.

Factors and elements that influence prevention

All physical exercise, whether based on physical performance or on body recreation, is liable to cause a sports injury. The factors that influence prevention will contribute to improving both the quality of life in general and an improvement of kinesthetic sensations in sports practice.

Some of the factors that prevent injury prevention are:
– Have a physical preparation appropriate to the type of activity to be performed.
– Perform a proper heating to the main activity.
– Use appropriate equipment (footwear, clothing, protectors, etc.)
– Control health with frequent medical tests and controls.
– To lead a healthy life (balanced diet, to avoid harmful substances, to rest, etc.).

Among all the above factors, one of the most influential is the physical condition of the subject. It is proven that people with a low level are more likely to have an injury.

It is important that each athlete analyzes the activity or sport that will perform taking into account the level of intensity and volume requested to be able to properly plan the activity reducing the risk of injury.

What to do to prevent injuries

Some tips to reduce as much as possible the risk of injury in addition to the factors previously cited are:

Environmental elements:
a) Take into account the physical space and the surface, in order to avoid blows and incidents due to the condition of the pavement.

B) Ambient temperature, avoiding moments of maximum cold or heat.

Material elements:
a) Material and appropriate equipment, with special emphasis on the elements of protection.

B) Use of footwear suitable for sports.

Physical-sporting elements:
a) Conduct a medical examination prior to sports practice.

B) Comply strictly with rules and regulations.

C) Perform an adequate rehabilitation of the injuries before continuing with the exercise.

D) It is essential to perform a warm-up prior to any physical activity, as we will facilitate joint elasticity and increase body temperature to adapt the body to the main physical activity.

E) Perform low-intensity exercises and stretching just after the end of a physical exercise.

Prevention at school level

Within the area of physical education, the teacher should bear in mind some basic considerations:
– Do not allow the practice of physical activity to students who present physical discomforts known and medically known.
– Perform as I mentioned above and methodically a warm-up and calm return in each of the sessions, devoting the time that is necessary to these parts of the session.
– Avoid the appearance of muscle fatigue and consequent lactic acid, not performing anaerobic resistance exercises, stopping the activity if any student has symptoms of fatigue.
– To take into account the weight of the students when it comes to performing strength exercises with peers, adjusting the intensity of the load to the capacity of the students.