Sports activities can be really fun especially when you have a passion to be the best at your game. But the irony is that you do run a risk of sports injuries- commonly noticed among children and younger adults.
In fact, a study conducted in the US showed that 8.6 million people, ages 5 to 24 sustain sports injuries every year, with males having more than half of the injury episode.
Types of sport injuries
The different types of sports injuries that you’re at risk of having a sports person includes:
- Swollen muscles
- Achilles tendon rupture
- Rotary cuff injury
- Knee injury
These sports injuries are commonly sustained when you play contact sports, haven’t been regularly active, or when don’t warm up before engaging in sports activities. However, they can be either mild (managed by simple treatment at home) or severe (needing medical attention).
Make sure you consult your doctor if you notice any of the following signs around your injured joints:
- Lumps, bumps, or deformities
- Crunching sound when you engage the joint
- Inability to add weight on the joint
- Weakness or instability
- Severe pain or swelling
Treatment of sports injuries
The treatment measure to apply for a sports injury depends on whether it is an acute or chronic injury. However, it is important that you first stop the sport or exercise that caused your injury. This helps to protect the injured tissue from further damage. If it is a small injury, you can protect it by applying elastic wraps, bandages, or simple splints.
That being said, you can use the RICE method within the first 24 to 36 hours of sustaining a sports injury. This method is widely used to treat sports injuries and it is an acronym that stands for:
When you have a sports injury, ensure you do not put any form of weight on the affected limb or joint. Try to give the injured tissues enough time to heal. However, you can still adjust to other forms of sports that don’t interfere with your healing process. For example, if you’re a tennis player with tendinitis, you may have to give up tennis for that moment, but you can still jog, walk, or hike. This can even give you time to explore other lighter sports.
You can apply an ice pack for 10 to 15 minutes after sustaining a sports injury. This is anti-inflammatory and it can help you reduce pain and swelling. However, ensure you protect your skin with a thin cloth to prevent your skin from becoming, blistered, red, or numb.
Again, ensure you repeat the ice treatment four times a day for the next 2-3days but don’t exceed the 20-minute limit. Then, you can switch to heat treatment following the same schedule or timing.
This is all about applying pressure on the injured region of your body, especially when it is likely to swell. You can use a simple elastic band around that region but it is best to place a small piece of foam rubber under the injured area before wrapping it. This helps to reduce the pressure on the joint or limb while compressing or massaging.
This involves elevating an injured area to drain fluid away from the injured tissue. This method helps to reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation. You can simply put a pillow under your sore foot or the other limp in bed. You can also suspend your injured limb on a hassock but whichever way you use will help you heal faster.
The RICE method is highly effective for the early management of most sports injuries but you may need medication to reduce pains and swellings.
For the first day or two, you can take Acetaminophen (Tylenol, and other brands) to reduce pain and reduce bleeding. Then, on the third day, you can use aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID) like ibuprofen or naproxen to fight pain and inflammation. However, ensure you take the lowest dose that works to avoid complications.
You can also rub in liniments, gels or ointments that contain anti-inflammatory medications to make your tissues feel cold or warm. Cortisone injections are also great options to reduce inflammations and treat arthritis, shoulder bursitis, tennis elbow, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
In severe cases, you’d need to see a doctor for a surgical repair of torn connective tissues or for the realignment of bones with compound fractures. However, surgery is scarcely required for most sports injuries.
The rehabilitation or recovery stage is a critical period that is intended to help your injured body part regain normal function again. Hence, it should be gradual and progressive depending on the severity of the sports injury. Sometimes, it can even take up to a few months to complete.
The early stage involves some gentle range-of-motion exercises with light stretching. This is imperative to avoid pain at all cost. More so at this stage, you cannot return to your previous sport until you regain full strength in the injured area.
Remember, sports injuries are best treated very early. So don’t ignore the signs and symptoms and make sure you consult your doctor for effective diagnosis and treatment.