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Sports Injuries

Many athletes and most ordinary people are prone to some form of sports injuries at one time or another. The injuries may affect a range of soft tissues, may include trauma to the skeletal system and include many forms joint-related injuries. These injuries can come about during some strenuous physical activity, during athletic and other sporting events. The general term sports injuries can cover a range of strains, sprains, they include dislocations of joints, fractures of the bone, all types of cuts, lacerations and abrasions. These injuries can also include blisters and bruising of the body, causing some form of inflammation and pain to the person. Sports related injuries account for at the very least twenty percent of all reported accidents which require medical attention.

Conditions such as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), cramps or stitches of the musculature, the development of asthma due to heavy exercise, many infections of the upper respiratory tract, and a compromised immune function which is indirectly linked to many forms of cancers, the development of cataracts and premature aging can be included under injuries that are related to sports induced injuries; though these conditions are very far removed from the accidents that are due to direct impact incidents. The physical condition of the individual as well as the state of health or fitness are important and major factors when judging the degree of impairment or tissue damage caused by sport related activity. Factors that also play some role in the severity of the condition can include the quality of the diet, and the type of sports, the frequency of the exercises, and lastly the intensity of training the person undertakes.

Strains and Sprains
The intensity of the discomfort felt and the location of the discomfort is the factors which are used to classify the difference between a strain and a sprain suffered by an athlete. Generally speaking changes that take place in the shape of musculature or soft tissues under pressure from resistance or external pressure, especially those involving throwing or other physical movements can be described as a strain. An inflammation and some pain almost always accompany a strained muscle as it undergoes stretching. An injury to the ligament of a part or the body or any ligaments in the body causes a sprain to develop. Though a dislocation or fracture isn't linked to a sprain, it usually occurs only when some part of the body is forced through a greater than normal range of motion; in short it happens when some muscle is overused or over stretched. The fibrous bands of connective tissue which bind bones together within the human body are called ligaments; sprains are always connected in some way to ligament damage.

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The ligaments in the bones often undergo partial rupture during sprains, and the condition also often involves wrenching or twisting motions around a joint; such movements put an immense amount of pressure on the ligaments and lead to damage or fatigue of the tissues. Because of the massive forces involved in the production of a sprain, the supporting blood vessels, many of the muscles and the tendons, the nerves and the ligaments themselves often undergo massive damage. Partial or complete immobility can result as the affected region undergoes a considerable amount of swelling and there is also a lot of pain generated; this is because of the underlying hemorrhage from the internal ruptured blood vessels in the affected area of the body. Sprains in general tend to affect areas of the body such as the lower back and the knees, including jointed areas such as the ankles; these areas are the most susceptible parts of the body to the chances of a sprain developing.

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Generally speaking the majority of sports related injuries are preventable if a few precautions are taken. By varying the sets and repetitions of exercises and by altering the intensity of training on a regular basis, methodical training protocols can and do reduce serious injuries from occurring; they do this because such protocols provide an acceptable allowance for strenuous training regimes through their cycling approach to physical effort. The athlete is protected from overexertion by a combination of this technique, along with cross-training; thus major injuries and physical problems are avoided in this manner for the individual. To avoid such injuries, one must always alternate between different modes of exercise and cross-train; therefore instead of only running or jogging, alternate your routine activity with others such as swimming or in-line skating. An insufficient supply of nutrients or overexertion often manifest itself in symptoms such as persistent muscle pain, psychological states like irritability and insomnia, mental and physical fatigue and even depression; conditions such as colds and other types of infection are also often present as further symptoms.

A major cause of serious sporting injuries is the use of improper training techniques and faulty physical regimen. Avoidable injuries are also often received because of low fitness levels in the athlete, a poor flexibility and muscular imbalance including uncoordinated muscular control and bad posture can all add to the chances of receiving injuries. A proper and symmetrical workout regimen along with correct posture and regular stretching exercises can smooth out these problems; these activities should all be properly balanced.

Permanent damage to the body is a huge risk that many athletes take, particularly where the individual has not fully recovered from some injury sustained previously. The best preventive measure against such likelihood is to give time for minor injuries to heal during a long period of convalescence. The athlete may lose competitiveness and can be forced to a permanent retirement due to persistent stress felt from a previous injury which may complicate the recovery process and hinder the person reaching his or her full potential. This is a lesson that has had to be learnt in the hard way by many Olympic and professional athletes who have ignored the need of the body for rest and relaxation after injury. Because physical fatigue weakens the body and impairs the immune system, adequate rest is necessary during recovery and sleep deprived individuals are prone to sustaining an injury if they are involved in a sporting activity. Mental fitness requires that a person receive adequate amounts of rest and sleep on a regular basis everyday. The athlete can lose all coordination and will not be able to concentrate properly, often colliding with obstacles and other players mentally and physically fatigued; this is because the sleep deprived brain contains the center which controls coordination, factors such as motor dexterity and neurocognitive function - all of which function below par due to fatigue.

Direct impact injuries such as concussions, lacerations and broken bones, bruises, twisted knees and severe sprains are often sustained during extreme physical sports such as boxing, and "contact sports" like football, hockey and rugby. Minor and sometimes even major injuries including abrasions, fractures and severe bruising are also a part of the list of injuries which can be sustained even in non-contact sports like basketball and soccer, through unavoidable collisions and accidents. Therefore most athletes involved with such sports require appropriate and adequate protection through the use of padding and other protective gear during play.

The production of free radicals increases to an enormous extent during strenuous and exhaustive physical activity; this fact has been confirmed by many experts in exercise management and sports nutrition. Factors such as oxygen damage in the muscles, in other organs such as the liver, in the joints, and in the blood and the brain are linked to an uncontrolled activity of free radicals in the body. Thus much of the soreness felt in the muscle, much of the tissue damage and the inflammation that usually comes after athletic training and during a competition can be related to the adverse effects of oxygen and not to the usual accumulation of lactic acid from fatigued muscle. When speaking comparatively, the typical athlete uses up to twenty times the volume of oxygen that is used by an ordinary person sedentary or otherwise, this extra oxygen leads to an increase in the population of reactive oxygen species in the athletes body; such free radicals such as the hydroxyl radicals, the super oxides and hydro peroxides are present in a higher density in the body of the athlete. The athlete thus is susceptible to soreness and muscular filament damage, because the concentration of oxygen in the individual muscle fibers of the athlete is at least two hundred times above normal.

A change in blood flow and oxygen supply to the tissues is a necessary corollary of exercise. Some parts of the body may become oxygen deprived for short periods of time during heavy physical exertion because of the diversion of huge volumes of blood to the working muscles. A sudden release of free radicals often comes about when blood rushes into these areas after the completion of the exercise is completed. The term reperfusion is used to describe this event in the human body. The absence of oxygen in any part of the tissues even for short periods also leads to the production of free radicals in those areas of the body. Oxygen deprivation often occurs regularly in the large working muscles which contract against heavy resistance during anaerobic periods of exercises such as weight training or sprinting; muscle often receives no oxygen for long periods of time and this leads to massive production of lactic acid - the accumulation of this acid causes fatigue. A sudden veritable explosion or surge of free radicals occurs when the body is rested after heavy exertion; this event is triggered by the return of blood and oxygen into the recovering muscles. The mitochondria of the individual as well as the DNA and other cellular functions and cell membrane systems are vulnerable to damage from these free radicals especially when the number of free radicals in the body exceeds the ability of the athlete's cellular antioxidant defense system to cope with them. A result of such as state of affairs is that parts of the body, such as the vital internal organs including the brain, the respiratory tract and all the articular joint systems, such as the knees, and other regions such as the shoulders and the hips in the body can become affected.

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