Conditions We Treat: Facial Sports Injuries

A facial sports injury is exactly what it sounds like: injury sustained to the face while playing sports. Full-contact sports like football, karate, hockey, rugby, and boxing are especially high-risk, but any sport that involves a ball traveling at high velocity (such as baseball or softball) can result in facial injuries. These include a broken nose, broken jaw, “busted” lip, or bruising and cuts around the eyes.

Most facial sports injuries can be avoided by wearing protective headwear and following safety rules and procedures — however, if an accident does occur, swift action can mean the difference between temporary pain and permanent damage. Any injury to the face or head should be promptly evaluated by a physician.

 
A man holds his nose in pain due to a boxing injury

Symptoms of Concern

While most sports injuries are not serious, there are a few key symptoms that may signal a more severe condition:

  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Numbness
  • Swelling
  • Blurry vision or changes in vision
  • Tinnitus or changes in hearing
  • Nosebleeds
  • Inability to close or move the mouth normally

 

How Are They Treated?

Minor soft tissue injuries such as cuts, scrapes, and bruises can be treated at home with over-the-counter antiseptics and bandages. Deep lacerations must be washed with a special soap to remove debris and other foreign material. Stitches and antibiotics may be necessary to close the wound and prevent infection. Broken bones and fractures are detected through x-rays and frequently require surgery to repair.

Patients with injuries to the eyes are typically referred to an ophthalmologist. If the mouth, teeth, or jaw have been injured, a referral to an oral surgeon is often required. Depending on the extent of the injury, it could take between six and twelve months to heal.

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