Acute Injury vs. Chronic Injury Overview
While exercising and engaging in athletic activities is beneficial to patients, certain patients may experience a sports injury from acute trauma or chronic overuse. Sports injuries are often caused by overuse, poor training practices, not enough training and not warming up and/or stretching before and after sports activities. Although many patients in the East Texas area experience sports injuries, some of these patients do not understand the difference of an acute injury vs. a chronic injury. The physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, pain management clinic in Tyler, Texas, are available to diagnose and treat a variety of sports injuries so patients can return to the game.
An acute injury is classified as a sudden injury caused during a traumatic event, such as a fall while jogging or colliding with another player during football. Some of the most common acute injuries include a strained back, sprained ankle, swollen muscles, fractures and dislocations.
Symptoms of an acute injury often occur immediately following the traumatic event. Common symptoms include:
- Sudden pain
- Loss of mobility
- Bone or joint visibly out of place
- Non-weight bearing
A chronic injury, also known as an overuse injury, is caused by overuse and repetitive stress to the body during athletic activities. Chronic injuries occur gradually and often cause milder symptoms compared to acute injuries. Because of the mild symptoms, many patients ignore the signs of injury and continue exercising or competing. Over time, the tendons, ligaments, muscles and/or bones experience further damage and cause more complex injuries.
Common chronic injuries include stress fractures, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, rotator cuff impingement and shin splints. Symptoms of a chronic injury include:
- Pain during activities
- Dull ache when resting
- Loss of mobility
Acute Injury vs. Chronic Injury Treatment
It is very important to never play through pain – stop exercising or engaging in sports at the onset of symptoms. Pain physicians often begin treatment of an acute injury and chronic injury in the same manner. Treatment of sports injuries typically include a combination of the RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) method, pain medications, anti-inflammatory medications, pain management injections, modified activities and a detailed physical therapy program. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to reconstruct a torn ligament or reattach a torn tendon from its attachment site.
For additional resources on an acute injury vs. a chronic injury, please contact the pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler – pain management in Tyler, Texas.