Sporting injuries are common and generally occur as the result of accidents or collisions, failing to warm up or stretch sufficiently. Not using protective equipment, using it incorrectly or a lack of proper training can also cause injury. For a keen sports person, an injury can be both painful and frustrating, sometimes leading to a protracted period of enforced rest and a loss of fitness and condition. Symptoms can vary depending on the type and extent of the injury.
Among the most common sporting injuries that affect the upper limbs are:
Acute sporting injuries occur suddenly and are the result of some kind of trauma, such as a fracture, sprain, tendon or ligament injury. The pain is normally immediate and can be severe and debilitating. It is important to stop playing or the injury could worsen and lead to long-term or permanent damage.
Chronic sporting injuries are the result of long-term overuse of a joint or group of muscles, leading to progressive damage over time.
To diagnose sports injuries and trauma, your consultant will carry out a physical examination during which you may be asked to move your shoulder, elbow, wrist or fingers in a variety of ways while the they apply pressure to the affected area. An X-ray or other types of imaging tests may be used to check for broken bones or joint damage, and an MRI or ultrasound scan may be requested to identify injured ligaments and tendons. A CT scan may be used in some cases to provide more detail.
Treatments vary according to the type and extent of the injury. Many conditions can get better on their own with painkillers, anti-inflammatories and rest. Also ice packs can be used to reduce swelling, physiotherapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles of the forearm and a forearm brace may be used in some conditions to reduce stress on the injured tissue.
If surgery is required, this may be done as open or minimally invasive keyhole surgery.