Sports injuries occur while exercising or playing a sport. Children are particularly susceptible to these types of injuries, but adults can also get them. You are at a higher risk of sports injury if you have not been regularly active, fail to warm up correctly before exercising, or if you play contact sports.
There are various types of sports injuries that produce different symptoms and possible complications. These include strains and sprains, knee injuries, swollen and pulled muscles. Some more serious sports injuries include Achilles tendon ruptures, dislocations, fractures, and rotator cuff injuries.
Treating Sports Injuries:
Most mild sports injuries can be treated at home using the RICE method, which stands for:
This method should be followed within the first 24-36 hours after sustaining the injury in order to get the best results. It works for reducing swelling and can prevent any additional pain or bruising in the days after getting a sports injury. You can also use over-the-counter or prescription medications to provide relief from swelling and pain. If your sports injury is very painful or looks severe, seek medical attention. Simply search through the treatments here at Yale Medicine to find one that’s suitable for you. Yale Medicine works with orthopedic conditions and treatments and offers a range of further options that are useful for treating sports injuries.
When to Seek Emergency Attention:
Most of the time, sports injuries are mild and can be treated at home using painkillers and the RICE method. However, it’s important to know when you should seek emergency care. You should pay a visit to the ER if your injury is showing signs of:
- Severe pain and swelling
- Visible deformities or lumps and bumps
- Weakness or an ability to put any weight on the joint
- Crunching or popping sounds when you use the joint
You should also seek emergency care if you experience any of the following after an injury:
- Breathing difficulties
Mild injuries tend to heal within two weeks. If your injury has not healed during this timeframe, make an appointment with your doctor.
Preventing Sports Injuries:
There are several things that you can do to prevent a sports injury from occurring when you exercise or play sports. The best thing to do is to make sure that you are properly warmed up by stretching before you begin. Cold muscles are more susceptible to tearing and overstretching while warm muscles will be more flexible, allowing them to better absorb quick movements, jerks, and bends.
Learn the correct way to move while exercising or playing sports; some exercises require different postures such as bending your knees at the right time. And, make sure that you are using the correct equipment; ill-fitting sports gear or shoes, for example, can increase your risk of a sports injury.
Finally, remember to cool down after exercising or playing sports. This will usually involve doing the same exercises and stretches as your warm-up.
Preparing correctly can help you avoid a sports injury. Most sports injuries are mild and can be treated at home, but get medical attention if you experience any more severe symptoms.