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How to overcome your sports injury
Sports injuries are somewhat inevitable for people participating in sporting activities, and relevant treatment should always be sought depending on the type and seriousness of your injury.
There are two kinds of sports injuries that occur: acute and chronic. Acute injuries are injuries that occur suddenly. Overuse of muscle joints or muscle groups are usually the cause of chronic injuries.
Great care should be taken in treating such injuries; what appears to be a strain may turn out to be a fracture, so it is always advisable to seek medical advice if pain and inflammation persists.
The following information is a guide only for initial self-treatment and should not take the place of seeking professional treatment.
Here is a 5 point program to handle your acute injuries:
1. Protection Applying bandages, elastic wraps or simple splints to small injuries will protect injured tissues against further injury. Medical attention should be sought for more serious problems.
2. Rest It is important you allow injuries to heal. Do not ignore the injured area and continue to use it during exercise. Find an alternative form of exercise that will not impact on your injury. Treat it as a challenge to diversify your workouts and learn a new skill.
3. Ice Icing your injury is a simple, yet effective, way to initially treat your injury. It is an anti-inflammatory that reduces pain and swelling.
Apply an ice pack for 10 to 15 minutes soon after an injury. Re-apply each hour for the first four hours, then continue icing four times a day for the next two to three days. Use a thin cloth to protect the affected area and don’t allow your skin to become red, blistered or numb.
Generally, after 48 to 72 hours, you can then switch to heat treatments using the same schedule and principles; however, please seek advice from an expert to see whether ice or heat is better for your particular injury.
4. Compression A simple elastic bandage will apply pressure to reduce swelling and inflammation. Apply snugly, but do not make it too tight. It may take some hours for the swelling to show, so keep a good eye on it.
5. Elevation If you have an injury to your foot or arm, you can use elevation by way of a pillow in bed and on the couch, which will allow gravity to drain any build up of fluid from the injured area. This will aid in reducing inflammation, pain and swelling.
6. Referral As soon as possible, make sure you see a qualified healthcare professional.
Returning To Exercise
When you return to exercise, you must take care to plan your resumption. Generally, the rule of thumb is to allow two days of rehabilitation coinciding with each day of inactivity. Use gentle range-of-motion exercises and slowly increase weight-bearing actions. Think about using light weights or resistance equipment to build up your previously injured tissues.
Correctly preparing to return to exercise will reduce your risk of re-injury and is, therefore, incredibly important.
Use stretching exercises to ease your way back to flexibility. Warm up correctly using heat or massage to prepare your injured areas for commencing rehabilitation.
If you have a more severe injury, do not attempt to treat yourself. Seek help. Your sports physician will assess your injury, advise on appropriate treatment and refer you to an appropriate practitioner for effective rehabilitation.
It is never ideal to stop exercise altogether. Injuries occur with any form of training, but with proper management, you can continue to use alternative forms of exercise without the use of the injured area. Know your body, listen to it and seek out the professionals equipped to guide you in rehabilitation and return to exercise. Do not give up on exercise/training; this can lead to illnesses which are caused by lack of any form of exercise and will make your return to sport a lot harder.
If you have incurred any kind of sports injury and require professional assistance, one of our practitioners will be able to help treat and rehabilitate your specific injury. Click here to book in to see one of our experts.