Musculoskeletal

Musculoskeletal conditions include include general explanations of anything that affects the skeleton, muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage or any other soft tissues. Injuries and terms such as tendonitis, sprains, & strains are covered as well as diseases such as Osteoperosis. For specific injuries view the body area specific section.

Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones, usually in later life and most commonly in women. The bones decrease in density as you get older which makes the bones weaker and more at risk of fractures. Although preventing osteoporosis is not fully possible, there are a number of ways you can reduce the risk of it and slow the rate of decline.

A sprain is an injury to one or more ligaments. Ligaments are found at joints and connect two bones together. A sprain normally occurs when a severe force is made to the ankle, damaging the ligaments. The lateral ligaments on the outer ankle are the most commonly sprained and often occurs when the ankle rolls outwards.

Joint pain can be due to any number of causes, from injuries to medical conditions. Generally, joint pain is a dull pain which cannot be pinpointed to a specific area. Joint pain is most common in the hips and knees. Pain which is localised to one joint is usually a specific condition or injury at the joint in question. Multiple joint pain should be investigated for more systemic (whole body) conditions.

Stress Fractures

A stress fracture is an incomplete fracture of a bone, sometimes also known as a hairline fracture or a fatigue fracture. They are very thin cracks in the bone and can occur in the Tibia (shin), Metatarsals, Navicular, Calcaneus, Talus, Femur, and the Ribs.

Tendonitis

There are basically two ways of injuring a tendon.The tendon can tear either partially or fully after an acute incident, or it can become damaged over time from overuse. This latter injury is often referred to as Tendonitis. Pain often comes on gradually and may sometimes ease after warming up before exercise. However, pain and stiffness will generally return later as the body cools.

Fractures

A fracture is a break in a bone. There are many different types of fracture and contrary to popular belief, there is no difference between a 'break' and a 'fracture'. Fractures of any bone are usually caused by a direct impact, such as a fall or a severe tackle. When a bone is fractured, the surrounding tissues and ligaments may also be affected.

Tumours of bone and soft tissue are rare but can affect younger athletes in their 20's and 30's. The tumours can often cause bone pain and may sometimes be mistaken for other injuries, such as stress fractures. Here are some of the more common tumours that may be found in bones and soft tissues.

Contusions

A contusion occurs in a muscle when there has been a direct impact. This injury can often occur in contact sports like rugby and American Football. The impact causes bleeding and damage to the muscles which makes the area very painful. The most common site for a contusion is the quadriceps muscle, which is sometimes then referred to as a 'charley horse' or a 'dead leg'. 

Strains

A strain is a muscular injury, which shouldn't be confused with a 'sprain', which is a ligament injury. Strains are tears to the muscle, which can vary in severity, from very minor, to a complete rupture. A muscle strain is normally caused by a change in speed or direction and can often affect sprinters for example. Hamstrings and calves are two of the major muscles most commonly strained.

Arthritis

The term arthritis can be applied to over two hundred separate conditions. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common forms and is when the nervous system attacks parts of the body. Osteoarthritis is another common form which is occurs mainly in older people as the bone cartilage degenerates.

Bursitis

Bursae are small sacks of fluid which lie between a tendon or muscle and the underlying bone. Their purpose is to reduce friction between the two. There are approximately 160 bursae in the body. These sacks can become inflamed from overuse, or sometimes from an impact, which would make it painful to move the affected area.

When the body gets injured, a sequence of events is initiated that leads to the eventual repair of the injury site. The first stage in this process is inflammation which is followed by tissue healing and repair. Tissue inflammation is the body's attempt to protect the area and promote recovery, but it does make the affected area very painful.

DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness is a particular type of muscle soreness that sets in hours after exercise. The exercise is usually very hard or far more than the athlete would normally be accustomed to, which makes the muscles more sore than usual. It makes the muscles ache and feel tight for up to a few days after the intense exercise.