Orofacial Injuries : Rugby Injuries

Rugby is necessarily a high speed, high intensity contact sport. As a result of the sometimes brutal nature of the game itself, mouth and facial (known together as orofacial) injuries are unsurprisingly common. Happening during collisions between players, tackles, scrums, jumps and other parts of the game, Orofacial Injury is often a result of exuberant play.

What causes an Orofacial Injury?

During play, the face is generally exposed to injury. Direct collisions with other rugby players in any way can cause you an Orofacial Injury. Your facial tissues are extremely delicate and are easily damaged; the bones of the face, the jaw, the nose, the ears, gums, the teeth and mouth itself are often damaged during rugby games, and even during training.

Different kinds of Orofacial injuries

There many different kinds of Orofacial Injury which may occur during rugby matches:

Skin-related facial injuries can be divided into three categories: contusions, abrasions and lacerations. Contusions are bruising injuries that don’t rupture your skin layer, and may result in severe discolouration, swelling and pain. The aesthetic impact of a contusion injury can be distressing. By contrast, abrasions are injuries where the skin has been grazed in a friction-style manner, and can in severe cases be highly painful. Finally, lacerations are commonly regarded as one of the more serious Orofacial Injuries, and can best be described as a wound, breaching the skin and causing serious damage to your face as well as possibly causing bleeding.

One of the most infamous rugby injuries is haematoma auris, otherwise known as ‘cauliflower ear’. The injury involves severe inflammation of the ear which can be equally painful and unsightly.

Teeth may be chipped, the gums and mouth may be cut and wounded or teeth may be knocked out altogether. Often extremely painful, dental injuries are sometimes a product of playing rugby.

Prevention of Orofacial Injuries

Although the risk of an Orofacial Injury may never be removed completely, players are often wise enough to reduce the risk through the use of safety equipment. Many rugby players wear Mouth Guards, and these both minimize the shock and impact of collisions on the face as well as successfully protecting the teeth. If you do nothing else, wear a Mouth Guard and you will substantially reduce the risk of Oriofacial Injury. You may also choose to improve your facial protection with the use of Head Guards, which are particularly effective in preventing the ‘cauliflower ear’ injury.

Treatment for Orofacial Injuries

If you are unlucky enough to have already sustained an Orofacial Injury, there are various modes of treatment available, the appropriateness of which will depend upon which injury you have and its severity. Whilst minor abrasions and contusions may be easily dealt with using ice packs, cleaned up with anti-bacterial wipes and healed with plenty of rest, more problematic, long-lasting, painful or serious injuries should prompt a medical examination. The most severe Orofacial Injuries, such as extreme lacerations, broken noses and dental injuries may take weeks or longer periods of time to heal, or may not properly heal or recover at all without medical treatment.

© Medic8® | All Rights Reserved