Examples And Differences Between Chronic and Acute Injury

Have you ever heard your doctor saying that your injury is an acute or chronic one? What are their differences? You need to know exactly what they are and what you should do. Their symptoms are different and the treatment methods differ as well. After all, it is your own body and you will be the one affected by it.

Acute injury

Acute injury is a sudden injury that is usually associated with a traumatic event such as clashing into another player during sports or a fall from a bike. You body undergo changes during this period and often it is a negative one. A traumatic impact can cause your bone to crack, muscles to tear or ligaments to snap. You will experience a sudden sharp pain that is often severe, immediate swelling and even cold purple regions in your body that indicates a lack of proper blood circulation in that injured part. You may even lose your stability if your knee ligaments are torn and you will be unable to place your body weight on it.

Chronic injury

Chronic injuries can be also called overuse injuries. Like the name suggests, it is caused by overuse of particular part of your body either through sports or exercises. They develop slowly and last a long time. Their symptoms are mild compared to acute injuries and the pain they cause are also little. This causes the patient to ignore the injury and carry on with their activities. Over time, it will build up and cause more problems. Some common symptoms of chronic injuries include experiencing pain whenever you engage in sporting activities, swelling after each game and constant aching when you are not doing anything. In other words, chronic injuries are lifestyle threatening as they restrict you from participating in many things. Some examples of chronic injuries are stress fractures caused by repeated loading of a particular part, causing tiny cracks in your bone each time. Tennis players also commonly suffer from tennis elbow which is effectively pain near the elbow due to overuse.

Whether the injury is chronic or acute, they must be treated immediately. The first step would be to stop whatever sporting activity immediately and perform R.I.C.E. Out of these 2 injuries, the most dangerous one would be chronic injuries as their pain is minimal but will last for a long time. Patients will thus be unable to know the full extent of their injury.


  1. Good day
    Please elaborate more on overused does that mean that Using wrong equipment or technic or shoe.
    Can acute be chronic. People they get injury and after 10-15 years they still fill pain in there same area
    can that be acute or chronic

  2. I have a 30-60 degree externally malrotated and 2cm shortened previous femur fracture, my UK consultants assistant wrote to me that I will never cause myself any ‘acute’ injury from weight bearing and mobilizing with this injury, the orthopaedic consultant refused to measure the exact degree of femur fracture malalignment using a CT scanogram, he said he knows the lower half of this femur fracture is somewhere between 30 and 60 degrees malaligned with the top half and he can tell this by looking at it and that is accurate enough as far as he is concerned.

  3. My thumb is swollen and I can’t bend it. It happened while playing football as a goal keeper. What should I do. I feel pain if I keep my hand downwards. Please give some opinion.

  4. Can you please name more types of chronic injuries

  5. If a player got hurt on his leg after he bumped into another player during a game. How do you know that it is an acute injury?How can you tell that is not a chronic injury that accumulate tiny injuries and the pain didn’t show until he got hurt and finally felt those tiny injuries.

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