An ankle sprain on the soccer field, a wayward lacrosse stick, a cheerleading stunt gone awry – all stories heard in a typical day for a Centra Care physician. Right now, Central Florida athletes are in that crossover time of year – winter sports are still going and spring sports have begun conditioning — which means more bumps, bruises and breaks than usual. Centra Care locations are reporting a significant increase in both Upper and Lower Extremity Fractures, Sprains, Strains and Contusions.
Typical symptoms of a fractured bone are pain, swelling, bruising and sometimes deformity at the site of injury. It can be difficult to diagnose a fracture just on symptoms alone, and remember, just because you can bend or move the injured arm or leg, does not mean it’s not broken. To avoid further injury, it is best to get an x-ray of any traumatic injury (fall, twist or sprain) if there are any concerns like significant pain, swelling or pain that just isn’t resolving after a short period of time.
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to cuts is infection, so be sure to clean the wound thoroughly by pouring clear water over it. Apply an antibacterial ointment and keep covered with a bandage; repeat these steps at least once a day. To stop any bleeding, apply constant pressure with a gauze pad or clean cloth. Something that’s very important to know about cuts is that they should be evaluated by a doctor quickly, because if stitches are required, that procedure should take place within 8-12 hours of the injury.
According to the National Institutes of Heath, muscle contusion is second only to strain as the leading cause of sports-related injuries. Often appearing blue or purple in appearance, these bruises are usually painful and swollen. You can get skin, muscle and bone bruises. Bone bruises are the most serious. It can take months for a bruise to fade, but most last about two weeks.
Sprains and Strains
Stretching or tearing a ligament constitutes a sprain. You’ll notice localized pain, of course, but other symptoms include swelling, bruising and limited movement in the affected joint. You may possibly feel a pop or tear when the injury occurs.
A strain is a stretched or torn muscle or tendon, like a hamstring. Strains can happen suddenly or develop over long periods of time. Symptoms include pain, muscle spasms and difficult movement.
To avoid injury or illness when participating in activities:
- Be sure to warm up and cool down when appropriate
- Wear protective gear – i.e. bike helmets, wrist & elbow guards, pads etc.
- Rest, especially when your muscles are tired
- Prevent “overuse” injuries (i.e. stress fractures, tendonitis, or inflamed joints) by not overdoing exercise. Condition your body before jumping into new activities at full force