Learn to Recognize and Treat Common Injuries

Learn to Recognize and Treat Common Injuries

The general population is overwhelmed with common injuries involving the musculoskeletal system, which consists of muscles, bones, joints and ligaments. These injuries can range from minor to severe, and people tend to underestimate minor joint and muscle injuries. Medical advice is often needed to determine the extent of injury and the best treatment program. A delay in the treatment of certain minor injuries can lead to permanent loss of function or can allow the area to be re-injured, causing more serious injuries.

The following can be common signs and symptoms of injuries. Initially, an individual will feel pain, throbbing or a burning sensation. Swelling and discoloration might develop. More severe symptoms would be an obvious deformity; exposed bone, pale, bluish skin; or numbness and tingling down the arm or leg.

Specific types of common injuries include: bursitis, tendonitis, cramp or spasm, muscle strain, sprain, epicondylitis or fractures.

Bursitis is an inflammation of the fluid-filled sac located between the muscle and bone. Common causes of this injury include a recent change in your job intensity, frequency or duration; lack of strength and flexibility; and poor technique when performing certain activities.

Tendonitis is defined as an inflammation of a tendon. This injury typically has a gradual onset and can cause pain, swelling and tenderness over the area. It might also cause involuntary muscle guarding and decreased range of motion. Tendonitis can be caused by an overuse of the area, acute trauma, improper body mechanics and/or improper footwear.

A muscular cramp or spasm is a sudden, painful tightening of a muscle. These tend to be very painful and can cause muscular soreness. Common causes of cramps are prolonged activity and excessive fluid loss without replenishment (i.e. sweating).

Muscular strain is a sudden, painful tearing of the muscle/tendon fibers caused by overexertion. Strains can be classified as first degree (mild tear), second degree (moderate tear) or third degree (complete tear). Signs and symptoms include pain, swelling, discoloration and loss of movement.

A sprain is a tearing of ligamentous fibers. This type of injury will cause the joint to loosen. Sprains have the same degree classification as strains. Common signs and symptoms are pain, swelling and discoloration, but the joint may still function and is usually not deformed.

Epicondylitis (“tennis elbow”) is defined as an inflammation of the muscles or tendons that attach on the inside or outside of the elbow. Initially, symptoms might include achiness or soreness. Continued, prolonged activity may cause pain with everyday activities including shaking hands, picking up objects or opening doors.

Broken bones or fractures may be classified as closed or open. With closed fractures, the bone does not break through the skin, whereas with open fractures, the bone comes through the skin. Common signs and symptoms include pain, possible deformity, swelling and typically loss of function. If a fracture is suspected you should seek medical attention immediately.


Immediate treatments for non-severe injuries include applying the R.I.C.E principle (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). Ice should be used during the first 24 to 48 hours to decrease swelling and pain. General treatment time should be 20 minutes with two to three hours between each treatment. After the first 48 hours, moist heat may be utilized to decrease stiffness and increase blood flow to promote healing. Moist heat treatments should also last 20 minutes with two to three hours in between each session.

Continued motion within pain-free limits is essential in the treatment process to maintain range of motion. Light stretching exercises should also be incorporated to help maintain range of motion and flexibility. Stretches should be slow and sustained movements to aid in a safer and more effective stretch. If immediate treatments do not help within the first week, you should seek medical attention from a doctor.

One of these commons injuries could affect your life. If you have questions regarding any them, please feel free to contact us.