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Exercise is important to good health, but people often get hurt when participating in sports or other physical activities. A sports injury involves damage to part of your body due to sports, exercise or athletic activities. There are two kinds of sports injuries: acute and chronic. An injury that occurs suddenly, such as a sprained wrist caused by an awkward landing while breaking a fall, is known as an acute injury. Chronic injuries (e.g. tendon inflammations) are caused by repeated overuse of muscle groups or joints. Poor technique and structural abnormalities can also contribute to the development of chronic injuries (e.g. ligament injuries from wear and tear over time).

Sports injuries can happen to anyone, particularly people who:

  • Have not been regularly active.
  • Do not wear proper protective equipment.
  • Exercise without warming up and cooling down.
  • Participate in contact sports that may involve tackling or collisions.
  • Take part in activities that involve jumping, running and pivoting or changing direction quickly.

The upper limb is one of the most frequently injured regions when participating in sports activities. Common types of sports injuries that occur in the upper extremities include:

  • Fractures
  • Joint dislocations
  • Tendinitis (inflammation of muscle tendons from overuse)
  • Ligament sprains
  • Muscle strains

Treatment for upper limb sports injuries varies widely, depending on the type and severity. Many sports injuries heal in a few days or weeks with rest and at-home strategies. But for more serious injuries, treatment may involve:

  • Immobilisation with a cast, splint or brace.
  • Injections to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Prescription anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Surgery to correct fractures or repair ligament, tendon or cartilage tears.
  • Hand therapy to regain movement, function and strength of the upper limb.

Common sports injuries that occur in the upper limb include: