Care for Sports Injuries

Monday, November 5, 2012

No one wants to suffer a sports injury.  However, athletes often do not think of getting injured, and sometimes push their bodies to the extreme.  Generally athletes are doing something that they love and when they are sidelined with an injury, it can be devastating.  If this is your hobby, where you invest your time, energy, ambition, drive and motivation, having to sit out with an injury is a jail sentence for athletes.  Even adults who are recreational athletes can suffer from athletic injuries and having to rest, or take time off their recreational hobby can be very frustrating.

Sports injuries come with a range of causes.  Some are traumatic and others can be over use.  Weekend warriors are athletes (generally adult recreational athletes who work and are busy with family life during the week and then try to cram in all their exercise on the weekends).  These weekend warriors end up getting injured from over use.  These can be the most frustrating of injuries as they can lead to sustained aggravated injuries that can come up at any time. 

Sports injuries can be broken down into chronic injuries (generally known as overuse injuries) such as swelling, aching or pains.  And acute injuries (sometimes a trauma or a specific event that caused the injury – such as a sprained ankle).  Acute injuries generally are sudden and come with a specific pain, and generally a restriction in the range of motion of  that joint.  Chronic and acute injuries can both be very serious and treatment ranges on the complexity of the injury.  However, there are some prevention methods for both types of these injuries.

Prevention methods for both of these types of injuries (chronic and acute) follow the same principles.  1)  Warm up – a warm muscle is able to go through the range of motion easier than a cold muscle.  Athletics generally requires muscles to move and stretch.  A warm muscle can do this much easier than a cold muscle.  2)  Progression – follow a progression of exercise.  Running is a great example.  Never attempt to increase your load or frequency more than 10% per week. 

If you do find that you have sustained an injury, immediate treatment will help you to get back to regular exercise as quick as possible.

Treatment of these injuries depends on the complexity of the injury.  However, one thing is certain.  Working through the pain generally aggravates the injury.  Pain is the brain’s response to wrong doing.  It’s a warning that there could be something seriously wrong, and it’s your body’s way of screaming to stop.  Athletes need to listen to their bodies, and when it yells, you should immediately stop!  If your believe that you have not done damage to your body (no existing swelling, can still bear weight and no apparent deformation or discoloring) then you might be able to treat it yourself.  The rule of thumb is called RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation).  These four steps can almost stop an ache from becoming an injury or a recurring chronic problem.  Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can be taken to reduce swelling and pain and should be taken with care, always consult with a physician before taking any sort of pain medication.  

Take care and happy exercising!