Sports injuries: Treatment & Prevention
Playing sports is an important part of leading a healthy and active lifestyle. It is important to warm up properly to reduce the risk of injuries occurring. Sports injuries often occur when engaging in sports or exercise due to overtraining, lack of conditioning or improper form or technique.
Bruises, strains, sprains, tears and broken bones are common injuries that can occur when partaking in sports. Soft tissues can often be affected such as muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia and bursae. First aid stops minor incidents from becoming major injuries so make sure that you have a first aider on site when performing any sports and ensure you have basic first aid skills when organising any sporting events.
Treating Sports Injuries
Depending on the type of injury that has been sustained, it can take anything from a few weeks to a few months to make a full recovery. It is important to not do too much too soon as this can delay the process of recovery. In some cases, professional help such as a physiotherapist or sports injury specialist may be beneficial.
Strains and Strains
Muscle strain or a pulled muscle occurs when a muscle is overstretched and tears. Symptoms of a pulled muscle include:
- Inability to use the muscle
A pulled muscle is most likely to occur in muscles within the quadriceps, calves, hamstrings, groin, lower back and shoulder.
RICE therapy can be used to treat minor muscle strains. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and can be used in conjunction with painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen for treating any minor strains.
- Rest- avoid exercise and use crutches or a sling if necessary.
- Ice- apply an ice pack to the affected area for 20 minutes every two to three hours.
- Compression- using elastic compression bandages during the day will limit swelling.
- Elevation- keep the injured body part raised above your heart to reduce swelling.
RICE therapy can also be used to treat minor sprains such as a sprained ankle. A sprained ankle occurs when the ligaments that support the joint become overstretched and can occur during everyday activities as well as sports.
A torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a sports injury that may occur when landing the wrong way, changing direction or stopping quickly, or from a direct blow to the knee. The ACL helps hold the knee joint together and provides stability. People who suffer a torn ACL may hear a pop and feel that their knee no longer functions. Pain, swelling, difficulty walking and loss of range of motion are symptoms of a torn ACL. Surgery to reconstruct the ACL will be necessary as well as a significant resting period.
Lower back pain may be due to overuse, such as playing one too many rounds of golf or lifting heavy weights. This kind of back strain will often heal without treatment. Plenty of rest and anti-inflammatory medications can help with the healing process.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurs when the brain undergoes rapid acceleration inside the skull. People who engage in contact sports such as football are at an increased risk for concussions
A stress fracture is an overuse injury that occurs when muscles are no longer able to absorb the impact from physical activity, and a bone absorbs the pressure, resulting in a break. Stress fractures can occur when you are rapidly increasing activity, the majority occur in the lower legs and feet. Rest is advised to allow a stress fracture to heal and often a special shoe or brace will help to facilitate the healing process.
Warming up properly before exercising will prevent injury and make workouts more effective. Resting between workouts and using the correct equipment will also shield the body against injury.
Remember to take care and know your limits when training or participating in sports and activities to avoid injury. Get in touch with and questions you may have or if you would like to know more about treating and preventing sports related injuries by tweeting us @imptraining.