Are you sick and tired of worrying about spraining your ankle or twisting something out of place every time you play a sport or work out? The occasional sports injury can happen regardless of preparation, but if you don’t know how to treat it, it could spiral into something far worse. So what tricks can you use to treat these injuries?
Well, we’re glad you asked. It’s time to delve into our guide for the top tips and tricks to know about sports injury treatment! But to understand the proper treatment, we first need to look at prevention steps you can take.
Sports Injury Prevention
One of the best ways to prevent sports injuries is to pace yourself and stay away from over-exerting your muscles. This is because the way you build muscle is by damaging your muscle fibers through use. Your body then repairs these fibers stronger than they were before, allowing you to repeat until you’ve reached a certain level of strength.
If you over-exert yourself, you throw off that balance and do too much damage to your muscles too fast, resulting in the muscle spraining or tearing. Keeping your expectations from getting too high will also prevent you from pushing yourself too hard. Try to schedule days off to give your body that chance to repair.
Another way to avoid this is easing your muscles into an activity rather than going all-in from the beginning. Doing plenty of stretching beforehand or light cardio will help here. Remember to also do these light exercises towards the end of your sports game to ease your muscles back down.
Pay attention to how you’re feeling during the activity. If it feels like a muscle is about to give out, stop there and try again another day. It’s less dangerous to your body to work your way towards the hard stuff as opposed to jumping right into it.
Finally, make sure you have the proper gear on for whatever sports you’re playing (like pads, a helmet with a faceguard, a cup, and a mouthguard for football). This helps reduce the risk of suffering some form of blunt injury during the sport.
Something else to pay attention to is the temperature of wherever you’re playing the sport. If it’s the middle of summer (for example), it’s easy to dehydrate yourself and start suffering from heat exhaustion. Drinking lots of fluids and paying attention to your body temperature is critical for preventing this.
Taking short rest periods is also a solid plan. This also helps give your muscles a break from constant exertion. While some may tell you that pain means muscle growth is happening, they are talking about small aches, and not anything bigger.
Many sports have rules to accommodate for these. However, if they don’t, you should never feel ashamed to ask for a break.
You should also make sure to adhere to the other rules of the sport. As obvious as that sounds, many of the sport’s rules are there for a reason. For example, the NFL instituted a new rule in 2018 that prevents players from headbutting with their helmets as part of a tackle due to increased concussion risk.
Sports Injury Treatment
Alas, prevention isn’t foolproof. If you do suffer a sports injury, it’s important to follow the RICE method. The R stands for rest, which your muscles need to repair any exhaustive damage they’ve suffered due to the injury.
The I stands for ice, which you can apply to the injury site to lower any swelling and ease pain. When you do, remember to leave some form of “shield” between the ice and your skin. Close contact for too long with enough ice could end up damaging the skin.
The C stands for compress, which means that you should wrap the injury with a bandage to apply some pressure to it. If the pressure makes the area numb or stops blood flow, you’ve tied the bandage too tight.
Last but not least, the E indicates elevation. Raising the injury site cuts down on swelling by preventing gravity from directing fluids down to the site. The general recommendation is raising the injury above your heart (or at heart level if the former option’s not possible).
Stick to this method for the first three days of the injury, alongside over-the-counter pain or anti-inflammatory meds in moderation. If the swelling goes down, you can alternate applying heat and ice to get blood circulation back to the area. If the problem continues to persist though, you’ll need to step up your efforts.
Getting the Big Guns
If the injury sticks around, consider exercising the muscle gently as it gets better. The muscle will stiffen and atrophy if unused for too long, which prevents effective healing. These exercises should also extend to nearby areas near the injured muscle, as they help support the muscle’s function.
Until the injury reaches a level of healing you are comfortable with, do not resume the same level of activity you were involved in prior to the injury. Your body needs time to get back into stride. Jumping right back in without consideration to what your muscles are going through will undo all the healing work you’ve put in.
If there’s still no progress after all that, however, you’ll need to call a doctor. Signs of this include weird bends or sounds with the injury site, high levels of swelling, excruciating pain, and the inability to put weight on the affected area. In some cases, dizziness or fevers will also present themselves as symptoms.
If this occurs, you need a professional assessment of your musculoskeletal system.
Exercise Without Fear
So, now that you know all about the tops tips and tricks for both sports injury treatment and prevention, what are your next steps? Why, to get out there and exercise with your newfound knowledge keeping you safe! And if you want to experience top-of-the-line treatments from our expert staff, make sure to contact us to sign up for an appointment today!