oa South African Family Practice - Sports injuries in adults : overview of clinical examination and management : CPD article
A wide variety of anatomical structures can be involved in a sports injury. To return to play as soon as possible is of utmost importance to an athlete, and in order to achieve this, a correct, all-inclusive diagnosis, a well-focused treatment plan, and a management plan that strives to offer protection are essential.
This article aims to give an overview of acute and overuse (chronic) sports injuries in adults, the approach to an accurate diagnosis and the management strategies that are available.
A literature review was conducted of scientific journals, text and internet material, including a Medline and PubMed search. Literature was selected for its in-depth data and well-researched information. Key search terms included "acute and overuse injuries", as well as "sports injuries diagnosis and management" to address current and relevant scientific data on the examination and management of sports injuries in adults.
The literature review indicated that sports injuries (both acute and overuse) are increasing in number due to the growing interest in physical activity and sport, as well as the enhanced intensity of training programmes. Adults are vulnerable to both types of sports injuries, and the age of occurrence of overuse injuries varies in competitive and non-competitive athletes. The importance of making an accurate diagnosis cannot be overemphasised. To assist the clinician in making an accurate diagnosis, a comprehensive history, physical examination and appropriate special investigations are mandatory. Familiarity with the demands of the athlete's sport may also prove useful. The approach to the management of acute and overuse injuries differs, with the emphasis in acute injuries being on treating the effect (torn, broken, displaced) and in chronic injuries on treating the cause (intrinsic or extrinsic). There have been numerous advances in the management of sports injuries, however further research is still warranted in this area. Follow-up articles will focus more in-depth on specifics with regard to clinical examination, special investigations and management options.
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