Sports Injury Triage And Your Role In Prevention, Treatment and Recovery

You may have already injured yourself playing sport or know someone who has. But do you know what to do? Sports injuries can happen when you least expect it, but knowing how to take care of the injury best, like how to tape tennis elbow with athletic tape, will help your recovery time and prevent further damage.

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Injuries occur frequently

Injuries are more common in those who have been playing sport for less than one year. If you are new to the sport, take it slow and don’t overdo it too soon. Getting an injury can be daunting, but with some knowledge, preparing your body for sport, and knowing what to do when you get injured, can help you stay in the game longer. Some sports injuries are pretty standard, like muscle aches and pains, while others are more serious, requiring urgent medical assistance.

Sprains

A sprain is a stretch or tear in ligaments, the rugged bands of fibrous tissue that connect bone to bone, due to overstretching or tearing. 

The most common sports injury sprains include:

  • Ankle sprain: tendency to roll or twist your foot.
  • Knee ligament tear: causes pain and stops you from straightening your knee.
  • Elbow tendonitis/tennis elbow: pain on the outside of the elbow, may feel like a bump.
  • Shoulder dislocation/shoulder separation: you can’t raise your arm straight upwards or sideways.

RICE Method:

Rest: Taking time off sport will allow for your injury to recover. If you’re not able to rest, try using an ice pack for 20 minutes every 2 hours when you are awake with strict bed rest when you are sleeping. 

Ice: Reduces blood flow to the area, which helps numb pain and slows down any tissue damage. It also prevents internal bleeding.

Compression: Wrapping an elastic bandage (or compressive sportswear) around your injured limb helps with both pain relief and swelling reduction. It also helps support your joints to reduce the risk of further injury.

Elevation: Keeping your injured limb elevated on a pillow when sitting or lying down will help with pain relief by reducing blood flow to the injury site. It can also reduce swelling which again, reduces damage and supports joints.

To prevent sports injuries:

Avoid sport if you are not fully fit. If you are exhausted, dehydrated, or tired, this affects reaction times, leading to sports injuries more often. You should wait until you have fully recovered from an injury before returning to sport too. If it hurts, don’t do it! 

When you continue doing sport while injured, it will cause further damage and make recovery longer. 

Stretch

Stretch before sports games to prepare ligaments and to avoid sports injuries as much as possible. Stretch all major muscle groups, including the front of your thighs, hamstrings, back of thighs, calves, and the muscles along your spine. Stretching should not be rushed, so do it slowly and don’t force anything. Finally, drink plenty of water before sports games to hydrate your muscles which increases their elasticity, reduces the risk of injury during sports games or practice sessions.

Before sports games: Warm up & cool down (for 10 minutes each) to prevent sports injuries as much as possible.

During sports games: Protect sports injuries with sports protection equipment such as sport pads or sports braces if available and practical.

After sports games: If you have an injury, treat it by resting until you are able to walk easier. Keep any injured limbs elevated on a pillow when sitting/lying down to reduce blood flow and aid recovery. Avoid further injury by not returning to sport too soon – wait until you are fully fit again. Ensure proper warm-up & cool down before sport next time too.

Have a sports injury?

If the injury appears more serious, like broken bones or open wounds, consult a doctor immediately! You may need stitches or surgery. Further damage could occur if not appropriately treated straight away.

In Summary

Prevention is better than cure. Prepare your body for the activity you are about to do. In the event that you were injured, take immediate action. Rest until walking easier—ice for 20 minutes every 2 hours when awake & strict bed at night time. Use an elastic bandage or sports braces if available & practical. Sports protection equipment such as sport pads can help protect against sports injuries during sports games too. Don’t do sport next time; wait until you are fully fit again! Ensure proper warm-up & cool down before sport next time too. Share sports injury knowledge to prevent future injuries!

 

Author: Sandy

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