Skip to Main Content

We have a new app!

Take the Access library with you wherever you go—easy access to books, videos, images, podcasts, personalized features, and more.

Download the Access App here: iOS and Android


Courtesy of Chris Bartlett, Central Davidson High School, Lexington, NC


When you finish this chapter you will be able to:

  • Differentiate between acute and chronic injury.

  • Briefly describe acute traumatic injuries, including fractures, dislocations and subluxations, contusions, ligament sprains, muscle strains, muscle soreness, and nerve injuries.

  • Talk about chronic overuse injuries, and differentiate tendinitis, tendinosis, tenosynovitis, bursitis, osteoarthritis, and myofascial trigger points.

  • Have at least some understanding of the three phases of the healing process.

No matter how much attention is directed toward the general principles of injury prevention, the nature of physical activity dictates that sooner or later injury will occur.25 Traditionally, the terms acute and chronic have been used to describe injuries.31 Health care professionals have debated the usefulness of these terms in defining injury. The concern has been that at some point all injuries can be considered acute—in other words, every injury has a beginning point. At what point does an acute injury become a chronic injury?30 Generally, injuries occur either from trauma or from overuse. Acute injuries are caused by trauma; chronic injuries can result from overuse, such as the injuries that occur with the repetitive dynamics of running, throwing, or jumping.31 In this chapter we discuss the more common traumatic and overuse injuries that the coach or fitness professional is likely to see.

Acute injuries = Trauma

Chronic injuries = Overuse

The information in this chapter is not meant to encourage fitness professionals, coaches, or others interested in areas related to exercise and sports science to attempt to diagnose injuries that may occur. This should be left to health care professionals, who have considerably more training and expertise. However, being familiar with the various injuries described in this chapter can help in understanding the course of both immediate care and long-term injury management.



Fractures (broken bones) occur as a result of extreme stresses and strains placed on bones. Before discussing fractures, a brief discussion of bone anatomy is necessary.20 The gross structure of the long bones includes the diaphysis, epiphysis, articular cartilage, and periosteum (Figure 13–1). The diaphysis is the main shaft of the bone. It is hollow, cylindrical, and covered by compact bone. The epiphysis is located at the ends of long bones. It is the growth area of the bone in adolescents. An injury to the epiphysis may affect growth of the long bones in younger athletes (see Chapter 25).22


The gross structure of the long bones includes the diaphysis, epiphysis, articular cartilage, and periosteum. (From Saladin, K. S., Anatomy and physiology, 8th ed. Dubuque, IA: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2017.)


Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.