The human skeletal system comprises 206 bones and numerous ligaments and tendons. These ligaments and tendons provide support to the bones by allowing them to move while supporting the dense tissues that surround them.
Skeletal injuries are quite common among people of all ages, but athletes are particularly susceptible to them. This is especially true for young athletes, whose bones and muscles are still growing and developing.
Here are some of the most common skeletal injuries in athletes:
Bone fractures, also known as broken bones, happen when a bone shatters or breaks under excessive pressure. Athletes who play regular contact sports without proper protection expose their skeletal structure to more force than it can bear, resulting in fractures.
The compressive force that is applied to the bone and surrounding structure during a sports injury can result in the breakage of small blood vessels. These broken vessels and bruised tissue start leaking blood, causing swelling and tenderness.
Unlike superficial bruises, bone bruises take several weeks to heal. They often don’t show any visible discoloration which makes them difficult to diagnose.
The muscle-tendon unit surrounding and supporting the bone is often so strong that it can protect the bone from breaking, even under extensive force.
However, the force can cause the muscle and tendon to tear away from their growth centers that attach then to the bone.
Avulsion fractures are more common in young athletes and children, occuring mainly around the pelvis and knee areas.
Certain sports injuries dislocate the ends of the bones. This is often caused during contact sports or from falling. The bone is forced out of the socket and must be repositioned immediately to prevent more damage to the joint. Dislocations can be very painful and are often accompanied by swelling, weakness, and acute pain.
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