Causes of injury and the properties of materials - NAIJAON

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Causes of injury and the properties of materials

This chapter provides a background to the biomechanical reasons why injuries
occur and an understanding of the properties of materials, including some of
the factors that can modify the behaviour of biological materials. After reading
this chapter you should be able to:

• list the biomechanical reasons why injuries occur in sport
• define the load and tissue characteristics involved in injury
• define and explain the mechanical properties of non-biological materials
that are important for sports injury
• explain viscoelasticity and its significance for biological materials
• describe the composition and biomechanical properties of bone and its
behaviour under various forms of loading
• understand the composition and biomechanical properties of cartilage,
ligament and tendon
• explain muscle elasticity, contractility, the generation of maximal force
in a muscle, muscle activation, muscle stiffness and the importance of
the stretch-shortening cycle
• describe how various factors—immobilisation, age and sex, steroids
and exercise—affect the properties of biological tissue.

Injury can be defined as follows: Injury occurs when the load applied to a
tissue exceeds its failure tolerance. Sports injuries are, for the purpose of this
book, considered to be any injury resulting from participation in sport or
exercise that causes either a reduction in that activity or a need for medical
advice or treatment. Sports injuries are often classified in terms of the activity
time lost: minor (one to seven days), moderately serious (eight to 21 days) or
serious (21 or more days or permanent damage). Competing at a high standard
increases the incidence of sports injuries, which are also more likely during
the growth spurt in adolescence. Not surprisingly, contact sports have a greater
injury risk than non-contact ones; in team sports more injuries occur in matches
than in training, in contrast to individual sports (van Mechelen, 1993).

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