AOSSM SPORTS TIPS
Wrestling, one of the world’s oldest Ligament injuries If an infection does develop, a doctor
sports is offered at various levels of Ligament injuries can also occur should treat it promptly with antibi-
competition, including the Olympics, during wrestling, most commonly otics or antibiotic creams. Wrestlers
the American Athletic Union, the U.S. to the inside or outside of the knee. may continue to drill or participate
Wrestling Federation, and high school These injuries are often the result in conditioning workouts, but should
and college-sponsored tournaments. of the leg twisting outward from the avoid bodily contact with other team
It’s a sport for all sizes of people. midline of the body. First-degree members until the infection is
Competition rules require that athletes strains can be treated with RICE completely resolved.
be paired against each other according (Rest, Ice, Compression and
to their weight class. Some competitions Elevation) and the athlete can return
require that contestants be matched
HOW DOES WEIGHT
when the pain subsides. Second and
by age, experience, and/or gender. This CONTROL AFFECT
third degree strains need to be treated
not only allows more people to partici- by a physician, but they rarely WRESTLERS?
pate, but also decreases the risk for need surgical intervention. Anterior Proper control of diet, preferably with
injury. Nevertheless, injuries do occur, cruciate ligament (ACL) strains are the advice of the coach and a dietician,
particularly in the knee, shoulder, skin injuries that cause instability of the is the preferred method of “making
and head. knee, and in most cases, require weight.” If a wrestler maintains his
surgery for the athlete to compete weight near his weight class limits, it is
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON at the same level. The wrestler can then a simple matter to lose two-to-four
expect to return to competition six- pounds to “make weight.” Nutritional
to-nine months after surgery, follow- advice should emphasize daily caloric
The face and head are the most common ing a rehabilitation program. requirements associated with a balanced
areas to be injured during wrestling, diet based on age, body size, growth,
including concussions, scrapes and and physical activity level.
bruises. However, knee injuries occur With deadly infections such as MRSA
with more severity than all other injuries developing in schools across the Weight reduction in wrestling, unfortu-
and are responsible for the most lost country, infection prevention is key. nately is practiced most commonly
time, surgeries and treatments. Epidemics of skin infections have to “make a weight class.” This desire
Specifically, prepatella bursitis, liga- been known to spread quickly from to make weight is often influenced by
ment sprains and skin infections are team member to team member with uninformed friends and other wrestlers.
among the most common injuries. the three most common infections Such extreme tactics as utilizing rubber
in wrestlers being herpes simplex, suits and a sauna to sweat off weight
Prepatella bursitis ringworm, and impetigo. With so pose a health hazard and definitely
Prepatella bursitis is the inflammation much skin-to-skin contact, it is espe- weaken the wrestler before a match.
of the sac (bursa) located in front cially important to minimize risk by: Severe dehydration and food depriva-
of the knee (patella). For wrestlers, tion also diminish muscle strength and
Taking routine and thorough
the constant stance of being on the endurance, leading to a weakened phys-
showers both before and after
kneecaps can irritate the area and ical condition. Additionally, entering a
practice and matches
keep the kneecap from moving bout under these conditions will make
smoothly under the skin. Once Wearing clean clothing at each the wrestler more susceptible to injury
prepatella bursitis has developed, practice session and illness.
it’s treated by anti-inflammatory
Sanitizing mats with antiseptic Recently, most wrestling associations
medication, such as ibuprofen or
solution after each practice have adopted regulations to ensure
aspirin, ice, rest, and kneepads.
control of body weight by establishing
PREVENTING WRESTLING INJURIES
minimum weight certification programs. Sports Tips are brought to you by the American
In these programs, each wrestler must Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. They
provide general information only and are not
weigh in during the first two weeks of a substitute for your own good judgement or
the season. The athlete’s minimum consultation with a physician. To order multiple
weight is not established as the athlete’s copies of this fact sheet or learn more about
best weight, but rather as no less than other Orthopaedic sports medicine topics, please
seven percent of his/her initial weigh-in.
An injury, no matter how trivial, should
be treated as soon as possible. A small Copyright © 2008. American Orthopaedic
Society for Sports Medicine. All rights reserved.
cut or scrape may not be of much con- Multiple copy reproduction prohibited.
sequence in hockey, football, or track
athletes, but for a wrestler, even a minor
infection can keep him out of a match.
Any injury should be reported to the
coach, trainer, or personal physician
as soon as possible, so that proper care
can be started. Rehabilitation after an
injury is an important part of preventing
further injury, since a large number
of all injuries result from aggravation
of an old injury.
Injury prevention should be a primary
goal of all participants, coaches, and
trainers. This requires using good-quality
equipment, including mats, uniforms,
headgear and pads. The wrestler should
be coached and supervised at all times,
stressing proper technique and disci-
pline to avoid injury. Proper officiating
can also do much to prevent injuries.
Finally, a well-structured strengthening
program conducted under proper
supervision can help prevent injury and
enhance the athlete’s performance.
Stephen J. Nicholas, MD