As an active person, my primary experience with injuries is that associated with exercise. While running, I have tripped and landed with hands and knees on rough pavement. I once badly wrenched my knee on an insane inflatables obstacle course. And don’t even ask about pickleball. (I was lucky enough to have a nurse friend by my side on the obstacle course, but I also blame her for the pickleball incident.)
These are some examples of acute injuries – or injuries where the pain is instant, intense, and relatively short-lived. Acute injuries can also involve bleeding, severe bruising, swelling, deformity (such as a dislocated bone), and/or the inability to put weight on the area.
I’ve also had experience with chronic injuries like tendonitis and shin splints. Chronic injuries – or injuries that include dull, persistent aches that can gradually worsen if not addressed – are sometimes the result of training too hard or not warming up enough.
I am embarrassed to admit that I have not always sought medical attention for an injury when I should. I just soldiered on, relying on my body to heal itself. This sometimes took a long time and may be the reason I can predict the weather based on the stiffness in my right knee or the twinges in my left ankle.
So, how do you know when it’s time to take a sports injury to your healthcare provider? Although sometimes obvious, here are some things to remember:
- If the injury is severe (for example, you think you've broken a bone or there is excessive bleeding) you should go to the ER.
- Serious acute injuries, like ankle sprains or Achilles tendon ruptures, should be taken to the ER.
- Any injury involving a blow to the head or neck should be evaluated by your healthcare provider.
- If pain persists five days after treatment, you should see your healthcare provider.
- If you're limping, numb, or experiencing less flexibility than normal you should see your healthcare provider.
- If pain persists and is affecting your ability to do normal daily activities, you should see your healthcare provider.
Sports injuries are commonplace whether you are a professional athlete or a weekend warrior. Timely attention to your injury can ensure that you heal faster and are able to get back to your chosen activity as soon as possible.
For questions regarding treatment options for your sports injuries, strains, sprains, overuse injuries or sports concussion, call CGH Sports Medicine at 888.721.BUMP (2867).