What is a Sports Injury?

A sports injury results from acute trauma or repetitive stress associated with athletic activities.  A sports injury can affect bones or soft tissue (ligaments, muscles, tendons).

 Did you know…?

  •  Many types of injuries that affect athletes may also occur in workers in certain occupations; for example, many people in the building trades develop tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow.  The principles of sports medicine can be applied in the treatment of most common musculoskeletal injuries.
  •  Adults are less likely to suffer sports injuries than children, whose vulnerability is heightened by immature reflexes, an inability to recognize and evaluate risks, and underdeveloped coordination.
  •  Injury rates are highest for athletes who participate in contact sports, but the most serious injuries are associated with individual activities.
  •  Between one-half and two-thirds of childhood sports injuries occur during practice, or in the course of unorganized athletic activity.
If you have suffered from a sports injury that is affecting your ability to get back to your regular activities, contact the Saanichton Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic.

Types of Sports Injuries

 A soft tissue trauma involves injury to the ligaments, muscles or tendons.  About 95% of sports injuries are minor soft tissue traumas.  Different types are described below.
  •  Contusion:  A contusion, or bruise, is caused when blood collects at the site of an injury and discolors the skin.  This is the most common sports injury.

  • Sprain:  A sprain is a partial or complete tear of a ligament (a strong band of tissue that connects bones to one another and stabilizes joints).  Sprains account for one-third of all sports injuries.

  • Strain:  A strain is a partial or complete tear of a muscle (tissue composed of cells that enable the body to move) and/or a tendon (strong connective tissue that links muscles to bones).

  • Tendonitis:  Tendonitis occurs when a tendon becomes inflamed, usually resulting from minor stresses that repeatedly aggravate the same part of the body.  It can often occur at the same time as bursitis (see below).

  • Bursitis:  Bursitis occurs when the fluid-filled sacs that allow tendons to move easily over bones become inflamed, usually resulting from stresses that repeatedly aggravate the same part of the body.  It can often occur at the same time as tendonitis (see above).


Causes and Symptoms of Sports Injuries

Common causes of sports injuries include:
  • athletic equipment that malfunctions or is used incorrectly
  • falls
  • forceful high-speed collisions between players
  • wear and tear on areas of the body that are continually subjected to stress
Symptoms include:
  • instability or obvious dislocation of a joint
  • pain
  • swelling
  • weakness


Treatment for minor soft tissue injuries generally consists of:
  • The RICE principle – which is Rest, Ice, Compressions and Elevation
  • Your Doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or request diagnostic testing as indicated
  • Physiotherapy is a vital component in treating your sports injury and getting you back to activity quickly!