If you push your body too hard during sports or exercise, you risk a sports injury. A sports injury involves damage to the musculoskeletal system. This body system, which consists of bones, muscles, and various types of connective tissues, provides the main framework for the body.
The more you know about what makes up your musculoskeletal system, the better you can understand what it takes to recover from a sports injury and how you can speed up the process. Let’s break down the anatomy of a sports injury by going through the components of your musculoskeletal system.
Bones are the hardest tissue in your body. Each bone consists of collagen, a type of protein, and calcium phosphate, a mineral that hardens the structure. Together, collagen and calcium make the bones strong enough to withstand stress.
Although your bones are tough, they are not immune to disease and injury. A sudden and forceful pressure can cause the bone to break, resulting in a fracture. There are different kinds of fractures, ranging from hairline cracks to breaking into multiple pieces. Fractures are characterized by intense pain, swelling, tenderness, and discoloration. In some cases, there may be a visible deformity. If you suspect a fracture, seek medical help immediately.
A joint is a point where two bones meet. The shoulders, hips, and knees are well-known joints that facilitate movement, but not all joints are movement points. For example, there are rigid joints like the ones in your skull.
Most of your joints play an important role in helping you maintain stability and mobility. Given their importance, any problem with joints can affect the way you move and experience life. Arthritis, a group of conditions that affect joints, is a leading cause of joint pain and related issues.
Cartilage is a connective tissue that coats the ends of the bones and functions as a shock absorber of sorts. It cushions the bones inside your joints, like the hip, knee, and shoulder, and allows it to glide over during movement. You can also find cartilage along your spine and ribcage, as well as in your nose, ears, and lungs.
A person has about 600 muscles or connective tissues composed of stretchy fibers. Your muscles work with the rest of your musculoskeletal system to help you move and support joints.
There are three types of muscles:
- Skeletal muscles are connected to the bones by tendons, another type of connective tissue. They are also known as voluntary muscles since you can control them. Some examples are the deltoid muscles in the shoulder, quadriceps, and hamstrings in the lower limbs.
- Smooth or involuntary muscles are muscles that you have no control over, like the ones in your digestive system.
- Cardiac muscle is found in the heart. It is a special type of involuntary muscle.
Contact sports like soccer, football, and martial arts can cause strain in your muscles. If you don’t observe proper form or technique during sport, you risk injuring your muscles. The most common locations of strains are the lower back and hamstrings.
Ligaments are connective tissue that link one bone to another and provide stability to joints. The difference between a strain and sprain is that the former involves a muscle injury. The latter describes damage to ligaments.
Most sprains tend to affect the ankle, but you can also sprain the ligaments in your knee, wrist, and thumb during sports. Fortunately, sprains usually respond well to conservative treatments. Only in severe cases is surgery considered.
Like ligaments, tendons perform a connective function and link muscles to the bones. They consist of fibrous tissue and collagen.
An irritated or inflamed tendon is the hallmark of tendinitis, resulting in pain, tenderness, and mild swelling. While any of the tendons in your body can become inflamed, the condition usually affects the tendons in your shoulders, elbows, wrists, and knees. For example, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, and swimmer’s shoulder are conditions that affect the tendon due to repetitive motions required to play the respective sports.
Most cases of tendinitis respond to home fixes, physical therapy, and medications. However, if the tendon ruptures, your orthopedic doctor may consider surgical options.
Treatment For Sports Injuries In Central Maryland
There’s no need to wait for a sports injury to strike. By working with a qualified healthcare provider, you can take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of injury and continue playing the sport you love.
If you sustain a sports injury or would like to know how to prevent one, visit the Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland. Our expert team can diagnose and treat a wide range of sports-related injuries and conditions from head to toe. Our clinics come equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to get you back and running in no time.
To schedule an appointment with our sports medicine doctors, call us today at (410) 644-1880 or toll-free at (855) 4MD-BONE. You can also fill out our online appointment request form. Our physicians serve Catonsville, Columbia, Eldersburg, and Fulton. We also have dedicated physical therapy clinics in Ellicott City and Jessup. We look forward to helping you lead an active and healthy life!