SAFETY AND RISK

Injury Types and Causes

Injury Types and Causes


There are two main types of injury: external and internal. An external injury can range from dehydration to a dislocation. Internal can range from mild, like muscle strain, to severe, like an open fracture. If a condition is left untreated when it should receive some form of treatment then this can lead to a chronic injury

Injury causes

Injuries can be caused by either an internal force or an external force.

An internal force involves a sudden powerful movement which then results in the muscles or tendons tearing or being strained.

An external force can involve:

      • impact: this can be with another player, for example a collision, kick or punch, or it can be with an object, like the ground or a post. This tends to cause bruising, sprains, fractures and dislocations. Impact with the head might cause concussion.
      • environment: if the environment it very hot this can cause players to become dehydrated. If conditions are very cold then this can lead to hypothermia.

Chronic injuries

If a bad injury is left untreated then this can lead to a chronic injury. This kind of injury is also called an overuse injury because it involves the injured area being overused. Common examples are Achilles tendonitis, tennis elbow and shin splints. This kind of injury happens only gradually over time so it can be hard for an athlete to know how when it started in the first place.

Common injury types

There are a number of common injury types.

Soft tissue injuries are any form of injury which doesn’t involve bone. So, for example, skin, muscles, tendons or ligaments. They can be open, where only the skin is broken like with a cut or a graze, or closed, where the injury is below the skin. Examples of closed injuries include:

  • Bruising: bleeding occurs beneath the skin.
  • Sprains: this is where the ligament is damaged. Ligaments are what keep bones attached and joints together. A sprain can occur when a joint is twisted violently.
  • Strains: this is where the muscle is damaged. This is also known as pulling a muscle and can be minor or major, for instance where the whole muscle is torn (a rupture)

Joint injuries include:

      • Cartilage tears: the most commonly torn cartilage is found in the knee. It’s where the knee is forced out of line usually due to a hard impact or twisting.
      • Dislocations: this is where the bone is pulled out of its normal position in the joint. A common example is the shoulder. This must be properly scanned before being popped back in.
      • Tennis and golf elbow: this is where the tendons are overused. Despite the names it’s not only found in people who play tennis and golf.

Fractures are where the bone breaks or cracks. A fracture can either be:

      • Closed: this is where the skin doesn’t break.
      • Open: the broken bone rips through the skin.
      • Stress: a stress fracture is one in which a thin crack occurs in the bone. This can be due to overuse and are common in the legs of runners. This is a form of chronic bone injury whereas the other two are acute fractures.

Concussion is another common injury and results from an impact to the head. It isn’t life threatening and can be mild, in which the individual is only dazed or loses consciousness only briefly, or severe, in which they lose consciousness for a longer period of time and it takes them longer to normalise.

Environmental injuries

Usually, environmental injuries are induced by athletes working in very hot or very cold conditions for a prolonged period of time.

In very hot conditions an athlete could become dehydrated if they don’t drink enough fluids. This may cause them to have headache and become light headed and may lead to muscle cramps. In serious cases it could cause someone to collapse from heat exhaustion.

Very cold conditions could result in hypothermia. This is where the body temperature drops very low. An individual will shiver profusely, their skin will become paler, their breathing shallower and they will appear tired and confused.