Sports injuries can be caused by:
An accident – such as a fall or heavy blow
Not warming up properly before exercising
Using inappropriate equipment or poor technique
Pushing yourself too hard
Almost any part of the body can be injured, including the muscles, bones, joints and connective tissues (tendons and ligaments). The ankles and knees are particularly prone to injury.
If you’ve injured yourself, you may have immediate pain, tenderness, swelling, bruising, and restricted movement or stiffness in the affected area. Sometimes, these symptoms may only be noticeable several hours after exercising or playing sports.
Stop exercising if you feel pain, regardless of whether your injury happened suddenly or you’ve had the pain for a while. Continuing to exercise while injured may cause further damage and slow your recovery.
If you have a minor injury, you don’t usually need to see a doctor and can look after yourself at home. However, you may want to visit your GP or local NHS walk-in centre for advice or if your symptoms don’t get better over time.
If your symptoms are severe or don’t improve within a few days or weeks, your GP may be able to refer you for specialist treatment and support, such as physiotherapy.
Serious injuries will occasionally require a procedure or operation to align misplaced bones, fix broken bones, or repair torn ligaments.
Depending on the type of injury, it can take a few weeks or months to make a full recovery. While recovering, it’s important not to do too much too soon – aim to increase your level of activity gradually over time.