Injuries

Diving-related injuries to the spine have received a good deal of attention, due to the catastrophic nature of these injuries. However, there has not been a single reported fracture or dislocation of the cervical spine in organized diving. These injuries are usually related to the lack of formal training in recreational diving. Injuries associated with competitive diving are more commonly associated with take-off and entry technique.

Take-off

  • Knee injuries, such as Sinding-Larsen Johanssen (commonly referred to as jumper’s knee), can occur because of the repetitive jumping motion performed at the end of the springboard. This condition happens when the tendons and tissues surrounding the knee become inflamed and irritated. Rest, anti-inflammatory medicine and ice treatments may be suggested. A doctor may advise specific stretches or wearing a support brace.
  • Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction starts in the calf, stretches down behind the inside of the ankle and attaches to bones in the middle of the foot. Repetitive overload of this tendon may cause it to become inflamed, leading to pain in the ankle. Divers suffering from ankle pain should seek medical advice. The recommended treatment will depend on how far the condition has progressed. In the early stages, it can usually be treated with rest, anti-inflammatory medicine and immobilization of the foot. A rigid below-knee cast or boot may be worn to prevent overuse.

Flight

  • Shoulder injuries are sometimes caused by a single incident. It’s more likely that inflammation and pain are the result of repetitive microtrauma caused by continual use of the arms in an overhead position. A doctor should determine the cause and recommended treatment.
  • Injuries to the head, hands or feet may occur from striking the board during flight. Divers should receive proper instruction from the coach to avoid coming in contact with the board.

Treatment

Assessing the severity of an injury can be difficult. When in doubt, seek the advice of a doctor.

Injuries may cause:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Limited range of motion
  • Loss of strength

For minor soccer injuries, think PRICEMM- Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, Motion and Medicine. This will help limit swelling and further tissue damage, maintain range of motion and return the athlete to play as quickly and as safely as possible.