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What is an 'acute' injury?

Sports Injury Basics

Gary Brazina (Sports Medicine Physician) gives expert video advice on: What is an 'acute' injury?; What is an 'overuse' injury?; What is a 'fracture'? and more...

What is an 'acute' injury?

An acute injury is something that's happened very shortly before seeing a physician. Usually within a week or so. An acute injury means it has just happened.

What is an 'overuse' injury?

Overuse injuries are a generalised term, which mean that a particular part of the body has been overused repetitively. The most common that we think of is tennis elbow. Everybody thinks it happens just in tennis players. However, it's an overuse injury that we can see from carpenters using a hammer and screwdrivers. Also, a gardener who's been hoeing all weekend and begins to get an overuse of that tendonous area.

What is a 'fracture'?

A fracture is a broken bone. Commonly, people say, "Oh, I didn't fracture it, I broke my bone." By definition, a fracture means the bone is broken, the cortex of the bone is broken. There are different types of fractures, and often they accompany a dislocation, such as <a href="http://www.videojug.com/expertanswer/shoulder-and-upper-arm-injuries-2/what-is-the-treatment-for-a-dislocated-shoulder">dislocated shoulder</a>. There can be open fractures, which means the skin is broken. There are complex fractures, which means there are multiple parts to the fracture and multiple fragments.

What is a 'strain'?

A strain is a muscular tenderness stretch injury. You strain your back. You pull the muscles in your neck. You strain your biceps. It's a muscular tenderness stretch injury. In other words, you have pulled or stretched that muscular tenderness juncture.

What is a 'stress fracture'?

A stress fracture is a fracture of the bone that comes from overuse. We see it commonly in recruits in the army and in runners, particularly women, as part of the terrible triad of the female athlete. A stress fracture is a break in the bone caused by overuse. The best example or analogy of this is: if you take a paper clip and you bend it and you bend it and you bend it and you bend it, eventually it'll break. A stress fracture is a wearing of the bone.

How do stress fractures occur?

Stress fractures occur from overuse. The most common stress fractures we see are in the foot, from runners either not wearing a good pair of shoes or overtraining. We also see stress fractures in women, as part of that terrible triad of the female athlete.

What is the 'terrible triad' of the female athlete?

The terrible triad of the female athlete is a very common problem today. Number one is eating disorders, whether it be bulimia or anorexia. Because of that, these women take in less protein and calcium. Because they take in less protein and calcium, they become amenorrhoeic - they don't have their periods. Therefore, oestrogen levels continue to drop. Then what happens is female athletes don't take in enough calcium and they develop stress fractures and premature osteoporosis.