The health benefits of regular sports and exercise are well documented. It can help us lose weight, improve muscle tone, boost self-esteem, and it can even help us sleep better, but by participating in regular sporting activities, we are putting ourselves at risk of common Sports Injuries, which could leave us in pain for weeks or even months.
Treatment for common sports injuries can range from simple over-the-counter painkillers and rest for minor conditions such as sprains and strains, to stronger opioid pain medication and surgery for broken bones and head injuries, and so it is important that your sports injury is diagnosed correctly by a medical professional, and that you receive the right treatment plan.
Common Sports Injuries
Sprains and Strains
The most common sports injuries of all are sprains and strains. While they are often grouped together, they are two very different types of injury, and may require different treatment plans. A sprain occurs when a ligament is overstretched or torn, while a strain, otherwise referred to as a pulled muscle, is caused when a muscle or tendon is damaged.
Most sprains and strains can be managed at home with regular painkillers to ease the pain, but if your symptoms persist, it is recommended that you use PRICE Therapy, and avoid HARM.
PRICE Therapy for Sports Injuries
PRICE stands for Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. By protecting the affected area from further damage, resting the affected limb or muscle for at least 48 hours, applying ice to the injured area for 2 or 3 days, using a compression bandage to support your injury, and keeping the injured area elevated, most sprains and strains can be treated successfully at home in just a few days.
During the first 72 hours after a strain or sprain, you should also avoid HARM, meaning Heat, Alcohol, Running and Massage, as they can all lead to further damage, increase bleeding and swelling, and slow down the healing process.
Sports Knee Injuries
Sports related knee injuries are also very common, especially with those who participate in contact sports and running. Mild knee injuries such as runner’s knee (caused by overuse of the knee), and tendonitis (inflamed tendons) are relatively easy to treat with rest and pain relief medicines, but severe knee injuries such as torn ligaments and damaged cartilage often require a more intensive treatment plan, and in some instances, surgery.
If your knee pain persists for more than a few days, it is recommended that you seek advice from a medical professional.
Fractures and Broken Bones
Perhaps the most painful sports injury of all, fractures and broken bones can put us on the substitutes bench for weeks. Fairly common with those who participate in high impact sports and repetitive impact sports such a rugby, jumping and skiing, bone fractures range from small cracks (oblique fractures) to complete breaks (compound fractures). All types of fractures should be treated by a doctor, and it is advisable not to take any kind of medication before seeing your GP as depending on the severity of the break, surgery may be required.
Rest and painkillers are usually prescribed for the treatment of broken bones and fractures, although you may need physiotherapy to completely rehabilitate.