January 16, 2018 Individual and team sports are a good way to keep fit while having fun with your friends. Unfortunately, jumping into these activities without the proper training and preparation could leave you suffering from a variety of painful and potentially serious injuries. At Spine & Orthopedic Specialists Tulsa, sports and recreational injuries are among the most common reasons patients seek care. Our doctors and staff are here to help repair the damage while addressing any issues with lingering pain and stiffness. Understanding your injury and knowing what to expect during your recovery is an important part of the process. Common Types of Sports Injuries In addition to providing a good workout, engaging in sports as a hobby or interest can be an excellent way to avoid stress. Unfortunately, accidents can happen and being out of shape or skimping when it comes to safety practices can increase your risks. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports there are two main types of sports injuries: Acute injuries: These occur suddenly during play. They include broken bones, hairline fractures, dislocated joints, and muscle, tendon, or ligament strains, sprains, and tears. Chronic injuries: These build up steadily over the course of months or years as the result of improper techniques and overuse. They include bursitis, which is inflammation of the small, gel filled sacs which act as a cushion between bones and soft tissues, tendonitis, which is an inflammation of the tendons, and other soft tissue injuries. Anytime you experience pain when engaged in a sports or recreational activity, you should immediately stop play. Pain acts as a symptom, alerting you that something is wrong. Ignoring it or trying to ‘play through’ it could end up causing serious damage. Treatment and Recovery Treatment and recovery for sports injuries depend on the type of injury you suffer and the extent of the damage. While a broken bone may be easy to diagnose through x-rays, soft tissue injuries often require additional testing to identify the exact location and underlying cause. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons generally recommend the RICE protocol as an initial treatment: Refrain from strenuous activities and from putting weight or pressure on the affected area. Ice: Ice packs should be used sporadically to relieve inflammation. Compression: Ace bandages or medical compression devices may help to reduce swelling. Elevation: Keep your injury elevated above the area of your heart while resting. Your doctor may also prescribe pain medicine and anti-inflammatories, while recommending additional testing such as CT scans or an MRI. In some cases, surgery may be required to repair any torn or damaged muscles, tendons, or ligaments. While recovery time often lasts several months or longer, following all of your doctor’s instructions can help avoid re-injuring the site and causing permanent damages. Contact Us Today for Help If you are experiencing pain and discomfort or suffered an injury as the result of playing sports, reach out and contact our medical team at Spine & Orthopedic Specialists Tulsa. Request an appointment at our Tulsa or Claremore office to find out how we can help you get back on your feet and on the road to recovery today.