Treatment for Exercise and Sports Injuries
How to Treat Sports Injuries
Sports injuries are injuries that usually occur during or around sporting activities. Most of these injuries are due to poor training practices, lack of conditioning, lack of proper stretching and warm up, and improper equipment. Some sports injuries will appear to go away on their own only to come back at a later time, sometimes even years later. Any area of the body can be injured during sports or exercise, however, they usually involve the ligaments and tendons, bones or muscles. Some of the most common sports injuries are sprains and strains, knee injuries, fractures, dislocations, compartment syndrome, and shin splints.
Sports injuries can either be acute or chronic. Acute injuries occur suddenly during activity. Signs of an acute injury include: a sudden severe pain, inability to place weight, swelling, extreme tenderness, weakness, redness, throbbing sensation, a visible brake or dislocation and limited or no range of motion. Chronic injuries are typically the result of overusing certain areas of the body during sports or exercise over a long period of time. Signs of a chronic injury include: a dull aching sensation when resting, intermittent or constant swelling, pain during exercise and stiffness of an area that gets better with movement.
Treatment for Acute Sports Injuries
Seek medical treatment.Some injuries will require immediate medical attention due to the severity of the injury. Medical Treatment may involve, prescription medication, corticosteroid injection, placing a cast on a broken bone or even surgery. You should go to a doctor or medical facility if you have any of the following signs:
- Severe pain, swelling or numbness
- The inability to tolerate any weight on the area
- The ache of an old injury has suddenly developed increased swelling
- If you have an obvious abnormality with a joint or bone
- If you have a severe laceration or excess bleeding that will not stop
Treat the injury at home.If you haven’t experienced any of the above signs and symptoms, start self-treatment as soon as possible after the injury has occurred.
- Rest. Do not attempt to continue with the activity to “work through it,” as this may cause additional damage to the injured area. You will need to rest for several days, and up to several weeks, depending on the severity of your injury. Avoid using the affected area until you feel that you have recovered enough to avoid re-injury or irritation.
- Use ice on the injury. Apply an ice pack four to eight times daily for 20 minutes at a time. Do not leave ice on your body for more than 20 minutes at a time in order to avoid frostbite or skin injury. Instead of putting ice directly on the skin, wrap it in a towel or cloth. Hot/cold packs can be purchased and the directions should be followed accordingly. When ice is applied to a swollen area, the blood vessels will become smaller in diameter, which will limit the amount of blood that is exposed to the injured area. This helps in the healing process. The ice will also help to numb the pain.
- Use compression on the injury. If swelling occurs, light compression can help to reduce swelling. It will help to prevent blood and fluid from entering the injured area.
- Elevate your injury. If you have injured an area such as the ankle, knee, elbow or wrist, elevating it will decrease the swelling to the area. Prop the injured area on a pillow or soft object for comfort.
- Immobilize the injured area. You may need to prevent the affected area from too much movement, depending on the location. Once you have initiated the treatment process and during times when you are not elevating the area, use a sling, splint, or immobilizer to prevent further injury to the area.
- Use medication. Over the counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help tremendously. They not only work for pain but on the healing process itself. Inflammation occurs immediately following an injury and these medications will help to prevent too much of this. Examples include: ibuprofen, aspirin and Naproxen Sodium. Another over the counter medication is acetaminophen, which also helps in reduction in pain.
- Use heat after 48 hours. Once swelling is controlled, usually in 48 hours, heat can be applied for comfort and to help with the healing process. Heat can increase the blood flow to the area, which helps to remove cell debris from the damaged tissues, thus helping with the healing process.
- Use pain patches and topical ointments. There are several types of over the counter numbing patches and pain topical ointments that may help to relieve pain. Use these as needed and if they do not interfere with healing. The injury should be closed if these are used to prevent infection.
Treatment for chronic injuries
Evaluate the options for chronic injury treatment.Depending on your injury, you may need continued treatment until the problem totally resolves or ongoing if the problem becomes chronic. This sometimes involves physical therapy, chiropractic care or alternative treatments. There are various treatment regimens for chronic injuries. These include:
- Spinal manipulation: Manipulating or moving certain joints and muscles by a trained professional can help in pain reduction.
- Ultrasound: Deep heat is produced by high frequency sound waves.
- Strengthening exercises: making the areas around an injury stronger can sometimes help ease stress off of the injury.
- Massage therapy: Manual rubbing can soothe and relieve pain.
- Water therapy: Monitored exercise in water can help in strengthening.
- Electrostimulation: A mild electrical current provides pain relief by preventing nerves from sending pain signals to the brain.
- Avoid twisting and bending when not necessary.
- Don’t overdo it. Know your exercise limits.
- Use protective gear when appropriate.
- Make sure to stretch, warm up and cool down appropriately to prevent injury.
- When jumping, make sure you land with your knees slightly bent.
- Wear proper fitting shoes and attire when exercising or playing sports to prevent unnecessary injury.
- Increase your exercise level gradually.
- Use proper form for your sport or exercise.
- When possible exercise on soft surfaces, such as a running track versus concrete or asphalt.
Video: How to Prevent Injuries in Sports
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