Sports Injuries: When Is It Considered Serious?

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a weekend warrior or a hardcore athlete — sports injuries are bound to happen. And when they do, you might have a difficult time deciding on whether you should see your doctor. Some aches and pains, after all, might seem easy to brush off.

Although there’s no clear set of rules to tell you if you should see a physician in Des Moines ASAP, use these guidelines to help you decide when an injury is severe enough for medical attention.

Regular Pains and Aches

Suppose that every time you play basketball, you experience pain in your ankle. It has reached a point where the pain is a regular part of your routine. But you notice that you only experience pain during and right after every game. It doesn’t impact your daily life.

This type of injury is often referred to as an “overuse injury.”  As long as you do not experience bruising, swelling, limited range of motion, discoloration, or locking in your joint, you need not see a doctor.

Simple remedies can work. In case you experience pain, you can ice the swollen area or brace it while exercising. Over-the-counter medication like Ibuprofen and plenty of rest can also help you regain your strength.

In case your overuse injury doesn’t heal, it might be time to see your doctor. Any condition that affects performance or training is a green light to consult with a physician. Signs to look out for include discoloration, swelling, and visible bruising.

man doing a front squat

What Counts as a Serious Injury?

Consider this: you’re playing football or out running and end up injuring yourself. It’s not like your regular overuse injury. This time, it feels different. You can’t walk properly. Plus, you experience discoloration, bleeding, numbness, or a misaligned bone.

If you are experiencing these traumatic injuries, visit your nearest hospital immediately.

Your doctor will perform a physical exam and order X-rays to get a better look at the injury. Once they’ve determined the cause, they will remedy it by providing a splint, boot, or cast. Serious injuries may also require physical therapy for proper healing.

See the Right Doctor

Unless your sports injury results in an emergency room visit, you can choose the kind of doctor you wish to see for your injury. If you’re in a team or any organized sports program, you may have a team physician or an athletic trainer at your disposal. If you are not in any, you can seek help from a friend to determine the best doctor to see.

Most family doctors are a good “Step One” to start your primary injury care. Ask around your community for an orthopedic surgeon or a sports medicine specialist. There are also plenty of physical therapy groups that can treat sports-related injuries. Some might even be able to refer you to good sports medicine doctors in the community.

An active lifestyle makes you prone to injuries. It helps to know ahead of time the type of injury that requires immediate medical attention (as well as the doctor to see) so that when it happens, you’ll be prepared.

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