As another season concludes it is now the perfect time to look after yourself, by addressing your injuries/niggles that you have or have been carrying throughout the season.
The common injuries
Sporting injuries are typically the result of repetitive stress on your tendons, bones and joints and can be caused by overtraining, imbalances between strength and flexibility, poor body alignment and incorrect technique. Below we take you through the more common injuries linked with sport:
Tendinitis. Inflammation of a tendon, often caused by overuse or poor body mechanics. Pain is the major symptom, but warmth, swelling, and redness may occur. The pain is typically most severe at the start of exercise; it eases up during exercise, only to return with a vengeance afterward.
Fasciitis. Inflammation of the layer of fibrous tissue that covers many muscles and tendons. Overuse is often to blame. A common example is plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the sole of the foot, which plagues many walkers and runners.
Bursitis. Inflammation of the small, fluid-like sacs that cushion joints, muscles, or bones like miniature shock absorbers.
Arthritis and synovitis. Inflammation of a joint (arthritis) or the membrane that surrounds it (synovitis). Like bursitis, joint inflammation often occurs without being triggered by exercise, but both problems can also result from overuse or trauma. Pain and swelling (“water on the knee,” for example) are common symptoms.
Dislocations. Often very painful and disabling, dislocations occur when bones slip out of their proper alignment in a joint. A deformity is often visible, and the joint is unable to move properly. Although some athletes attempt to realign (reduce) a dislocation themselves, it should be done by a physician or highly experienced trainer or therapist.
Fractures. A disruption in the continuity and integrity of a bone. Except for broken toes and stress (hairline) fractures, nearly all fractures require skilled medical management.
Contusions. Bleeding into tissues caused by direct trauma — the “black and blue.”
Muscle cramps and spasms. Unduly strong and sustained muscle contractions that can be very painful (the “charley horse”). Gentle stretching will help relieve cramps; hydration and good conditioning help prevent them.
Lacerations and abrasions. Cuts and scrapes; small ones can be managed with soap and water and Band-Aids, but larger ones may require special dressings or sutures. Tetanus shots are not necessary if immunizations have been kept up to date with boosters every 10 years.
Some of the above injuries respond to home treatment using PRICER and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. However, injuries that don’t get better after a few days require medical attention.
Manage your injuries – PRICER
Minor sprains involve some pain, swelling and tenderness. However, this is manageable from home by the PRICER technique which (rest, ice, compression, elevation and referral). Most minor sprains begin to feel better within two days and fully resolve within one to two weeks. If you experience severe pain, swelling, bruising or immobility, contact your doctor or specialist right away.
Strains are very common in the hamstring, quadriceps, calf, groin, rotator cuff and lower back muscles. Symptoms include pain when contracting or stretching the muscle, tenderness, swelling and bruising. PRICER is as equally as effective for strains as it is for sprains, you can return to your normal activities after the muscle strain feels better, and when the strained muscle regains the same flexibility and strength as the corresponding muscle on the other side of your body.
Protection—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 neighbour can do the job.
Rest—not complete rest, but active rest. This can be achieved by keeping the muscle switched on with mini contractions or tightening which prevents it from shutting down, resulting in the ability to contract the muscle.
Ice—(or cold pack) around the injured part to close down the vessels that have dilated or been damaged in the trauma. This should be repeated for 15-20 minutes every two to three hours for the first 24-36 hours.
Compression—compress the area above and below and over the injured tissue to constrict flow of fluids out of vessels that are damaged. This needs to be firm, but not enough to become a ligature that cuts off blood supply to the rest of the limb.
Elevation—of the injured part at a level that is comfortable, but reduces the effect of gravity draining fluids to more distal tissues.
Referral—arrange to see a qualified health professional (doctor or physiotherapist) immediately. This will determine the extent of your injury and provide advice on the treatment and rehabilitation required. Tony Menz Orthopaedics is a perfect referral, call us on 08 8267 1284 or request Tony on your next GP visit.
Eventually, you’ll finally reach the stage where your pain is gone and your swelling is down — but your treatment is not yet over. This step is crucial; plan your rehabilitation and return to exercise with the same care that you used to treat your injury. As a rule of thumb, give yourself two days of rehab for each day of inactivity due to injury. Start with gentle range-of-motion exercises, and then gradually increase your weight-bearing activities.
When you are comfortable, consider building up your tissues with graded resistance training using calisthenics, light weights, or resistance equipment. If all goes well, you can be stronger than before your injury, thus reducing your risk of reinjury.
Don’t neglect stretching exercises to improve your flexibility. Use heat or massage to warm up your injured tissues before you start your rehab exercises; afterward, apply ice to the area to reduce inflammation. The judicious use of aspirin or other NSAIDs may also facilitate your rehabilitation program.
If you would like more information or to seek specialist advice. Please contact Tony Menz Orthopaedics on 08 8267 1284 or firstname.lastname@example.org