Injuries (Part 2): Prevention and Treatment

For anyone who is active, chances are you have had your share of injuries.  Some are temporary, with treatment they are gone, never to return again.  Some are long term, the ones you have to deal with on a regular basis.  The short term injuries are really just a nuisance.  You treat it, rest, maybe even consult a physician. But after a while, you’re good as new and back to your normal routine. As you can imagine, the latter are harder to deal with because the injury is with you all the time.  Even if it is dormant for the moment, there is always the chance it will flare up at any time, without any warning.  But if you follow some common sense guidelines, you will overcome those injuries and be even better than before! Of course, we would all like to avoid injuries in the first place.  So let’s start there.

Tips for avoiding injuries:

  • Don’t bend your knees more than half way when doing knee bends.
  • Don’t twist your knees when you stretch. Keep your feet as flat as you can.
  • When jumping, land with your knees bent.
  • Do warmup exercises before you play any sport.
  • Always stretch before you play or exercise.
  • Don’t overdo it.
  • Cool down after hard sports or workouts.
  • Wear shoes that fit properly, are stable, and absorb shock.
  • Use the softest exercise surface you can find; don’t run on asphalt or concrete.
  • Run on flat surfaces.
  • Don’t be a “weekend warrior.” Don’t try to do a week’s worth of activity in a day or two.
  • Learn to do your sport right. Use proper form to reduce your risk of “overuse” injuries.
  • Know your body’s limits.
  • Build up your exercise level gradually.Weight loss meme

This is one of those situations when I would say “do as I say, not as I do”.  If I was being honest, of the 14 tips above I really only follow half of them.  My biggest fails are warming up, stretching and cooling down.  All of which I know I need to do and would help my injuries.  I guess I am just stubborn and set in my ways.  I do remember to stretch when I get so tight I can’t avoid it, especially my hamstrings.  They get tight as guitar strings.

The most common sports injuries are:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Knee injuries
  • Swollen muscles
  • Achilles tendon injuries
  • Pain along the shin bone
  • Fractures

What to do when you do get injured:

Never try to “work through” the pain of a sports injury. Stop playing or exercising when you feel pain. Playing or exercising more only causes more harm. Some injuries should be seen by a doctor right away. Others you can treat yourself with the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)

Call a doctor when:

  • The injury causes severe pain, swelling, or numbness
  • You can’t put any weight on the area
  • An old injury hurts, aches or swells
  • The joint doesn’t feel normal or feels unstable.Chewing meme

If you don’t have any of these signs, you can likely treat the injury at home.. Use the PRICE (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method to relieve pain, reduce swelling, and speed healing. Follow these four steps right after the injury occurs and for the next 48 hours for quickest recovery and best results

  • Injured tissues must be protected against further injury. Protect your small injuries by applying bandages, elastic wraps, or simple splints. Something as easy as taping an injured toe to its healthy neighbor can do the job. See your doctor for problems that require precision splints or casts.
  • Reduce your regular activities. If you’ve injured your foot, ankle, or knee, take weight off of it. A crutch can help. If your right foot or ankle is injured, use the crutch on the left side. If your left foot or ankle is injured, use the crutch on the right side.
  • Put an ice pack to the injured area for 20 minutes, four to eight times a day. You can use a cold pack or ice bag. You can also use a plastic bag filled with crushed ice and wrapped in a towel. Take the ice off after 20 minutes to avoid cold injury.
  • Put even pressure (compression) on the injured area to help reduce swelling. You can use an elastic wrap, special boot, air cast, or splint. Ask your doctor which one is best for your injury.
  • Put the injured area on a pillow, at a level above your heart, to help reduce swelling.

We can’t live in a bubble, which makes us all susceptible to injuries.  I hope you’ve found some helpful information in this 2 part series.  Go. Work hard. Play hard. And walk fiercely!

(The graphics don’t go with the topic.  But they made me laugh.  That was good enough for me)

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