How to Deal with Minor Sports Injuries

Sports injuries are generally the injuries that occur during sports or exercise. These injuries can be results of accidents, poor training techniques, and inadequate equipment.

First-aid

The first usual sign of a sport injury is pain. If a sudden pain occurs, stop immediately and investigate the cause.

For close wound injuries such as contusions, strains, sprains, dislocations and minor fractures, use the R.I.C.E. technique:

R – Rest. Stop using the injured part and avoid over manipulation.

I – Ice. Stops internal bleeding and reduces swelling.

C – Compression. Compression may help reduce swelling.

E – Elevation. Elevate injured part above heart level to decrease swelling and pain

For minor open wounds such as abrasions and cuts:

  • Stop the bleeding. You can do this by applying gentle pressure to the site.
  • Clean the wound. Wash the wound with soap and water to prevent infection.
  • Cover the wound. If there’s no active bleeding, it is better to keep the wound uncovered to hasten the healing process.
  • If bleeding persists and the cut is deep, go to a hospital and have it stitched.

Giving first-aid to minor injuries will help to minimize complications and help to hasten recovery process later on. If no first-aid was done, more problems can arise such as infection of a wound and worsening of an otherwise minor fracture.

Treatment

  • NSAIDs. Injury causes pain and inflammation. Taking Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen will address the problem.
  • Immobilization. Immobilization should be done immediately, as early as giving first-aid treatment. It reduces swelling, muscle spasms and pain. Reducing movement in the affected area prevents further damage. This can be achieved by using slings, splints, casts or leg immobilizers.
  • Surgery. In some cases, surgery is needed to repair torn tissues or fractured bones. Minor injuries usually do not require surgery.

Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is as important as your treatment. Rehabilitation aims to restore the injured body part’s function back to normal. For some injuries, early mobilization can speed up healing. The goal is to start mobilization without causing pain.

  • Range of Motion (ROM) exercises. Start with gentle ROM exercises to mobilize injured area.
  • Stretching. Damaged tissue causes scar formation when they heal; this causes the injured part to be tight thus the need for stretching. You should be able to stretch the injured area without causing pain and swelling or any other discomforts before going back to your activities.
  • Strengthening exercises. Rebuild strength and joint stability. Get a specialist to guide you through the process. This involves getting the joints back to proper alignment, and exercises to regain muscle strength.
  • Rehabilitation therapies. Other rehabilitation therapies used in sports injuries:

Massage – Soothes tense muscles and improves blood circulation in the injured area.

Heat therapy – Use of heat to reduce pain and improve blood circulation. This should not be used in the first 48 hours after an injury. This can be done with the use of hot compresses, heating pads or heat lamps.

Electrostimulation – use of mild electrical current for pain relief and to stimulate immobilized limbs to prevent muscle atrophy.

Rest

Take time to rest after an injury. Some injuries take time to heal, proper rest will aid in the healing process. A balance between rest and rehabilitation techniques will soon get you back to your normal activities.

Prevention

Not all injuries can be prevented, but you can reduce the risks.

  1. Proper warm-up and stretching before doing exercise.
  2. Learning proper form and techniques should be a priority.
  3. Using the recommended sport-specific protective gears.
  4. Do not push yourself too much; avoid overtraining.