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Acute and Chronic…
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Acute and Chronic Sports Injuries

October 4, 2017
Two men carrying an injured woman wincing in pain.

Regardless of the specific structure affected, musculoskeletal injuries can generally be classified in one of two ways: acute or chronic. An acute injury is sudden and severe such as a broken bone. A chronic injury develops and worsens over an extended period of time like shin splints. Acute injuries may lead to a chronic syndrome if untreated. There are similarities and differences between acute and chronic injuries. Acute and chronic are similar in that coping with any health problem, depending on the severity of the condition and the resources available, can be challenging.

Direct Orthopedic Care, DOC, provides immediate access to the highest quality orthopedic health care without the challenge and expense of an ER visit or the wait for a referral to an orthopedic specialist. An acute injury occurs suddenly during activity. A traumatic impact can cause sprains, fractures, strains, and torn muscles or ligaments. Acute injuries are usually isolated to the injured body area and respond favorably to treatment. Symptoms of an acute injury include swelling, tenderness, weakness, limited movement, no weight tolerance, or visible dislocation. In contrast, long-term chronic injuries often result from overusing one area of the body while playing the same sport over a long period of time. Common symptoms of chronic injuries include pain during sporting activities, swelling, and a constant ache while at rest. Acute injuries can become chronic medical conditions. For example, a severe back injury can develop into chronic back pain. Whether an injury is acute or chronic, it must be treated immediately. The first step is to stop the activity. The DOC orthopedic specialists diagnose and treat musculoskeletal injuries, acute or chronic, seven days a week.

For more information on the cost of care, click here.


National Institutes of Health

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