Orthopaedic and Sports Injuries

More and more people are now into health, sports and exercise. The benefits of sports and exercise cannot be over emphasized and has been shown to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. It also helps keep diabetes at bay. Exercising and sports activities are therefore at an all-time high in terms of participation. So it comes as no surprise that injuries sustained from such activities are also on the rise.

Sports injuries are injuries that occur in athletic activities or exercising. In the U.S., about 30 million children and teens participate in some form of organized sports and more than 3.5 million injuries are reported each year. This causes some loss of participation time. Almost one-third of all injuries incurred in childhood are sports-related injuries. In Malaysia, we are seeing this same increasing trend. Sports injuries not only affect the health of the individual but also the productivity of the nation as most of these injuries afflict the young and healthy.

Sports injuries can be divided to:

1. Traumatic

i. Contusion or bruise – damage to small blood vessels which causes bleeding within the tissues
ii. Strain – trauma to a muscle due to overstretching and tearing of muscle fibers
iii. Sprain – an injury in a joint, caused by the ligament being stretched beyond its own capacity
iv. Wound – abrasion or puncture of the skin
v. Bone fracture – break(s) in the bone
vi. Knee and shoulder dislocations
vii. Spinal cord injury – damage to the central nervous system or spine
viii. Cramp – a strong muscle contraction that can be very painful lasting in few minutes but massaging the muscles can relieve the pain

2. Overuse

i. Runner’s knee (chondromalacia patellae)
ii. Tendinitis (tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow)
iii. Tendinosis

3. Equipment/Exhaustion

i. Chaffing
ii. Bicycle injuries
iii. Heat stroke


Prevention helps reduce potential sport injuries and provides several benefits. Some benefits include a healthier athlete, longer duration of participation in the sport, potential for better performance, and reduced medical costs. It can be broken up into three broad categories of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention. Primary prevention involves the avoidance of injury. An example is ankle braces being worn, even when there is no history of previous ankle injuries. If primary prevention activities were effective, there would be a lesser chance of injuries occurring in the first place. Secondary prevention involves an early diagnosis and treatment once an injury has occurred. The goal of obtaining early diagnosis is to ensure that the injury receives proper care and recovery proceeds appropriately, therefore preventing complications that may arise later. Lastly, tertiary prevention is solely focused on the rehabilitation to reduce and correct an existing disability resulting from the traumatic event. An example in the case of an athlete who has obtained an ankle injury the rehabilitation would consist of balance exercises to acquire the strength and mobility back as well as wearing an ankle brace, while gradually returning to the sport.


Treatment of sports injuries can be divided to:

1. Conservative

i. Physiotherapy
ii. Taping
iii. Cryotherapy/heat therapy
iv. Intra-articular injections

2. Surgery

i. Repair of torn ligaments
ii. Reconstruction of ligaments
iii. Meniscus repair or debridement
iv. Fracture fixation
v. Joint stabilization for shoulder/knee dislocation

3. Prolotherapy (proliferation therapy)

i. PRP injection
ii. Stem cell injection
iii. Growth factor injection

Over here in Timberland Medical Centre, we are committed to the prevention of sports injuries and its problems. We offer advice, physiotherapy, prolotherapy and surgeries for acute and chronic sports related injuries.

This article is by Dr Leong Wan Hee, Orthopaedic Surgeon (with a sub-specialty in Sports Injuries) at Timberland Medical Centre.

*The information ​in this ​article is ​not​ intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice​ to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. You should consult your health care provider if you have or suspect you may have a health problem.