Sometimes, injuries happen when players come into contact with each other or they’re wearing improper gear. Regardless of the reason, everyone should take sports injuries seriously the moment they occur. A quick decision to stop playing or to slow down can prevent an injury from becoming more serious.
Sports injuries fall into two categories: acute and chronic. Acute injuries occur suddenly. They cause sudden, severe pain and possibly swelling. An athlete might not be able to walk or use their arms, hand or fingers. Extreme weakness or a dislocated joint are other examples of acute injuries.
A chronic injury, on the other hand, develops after you’ve played a sport or exercised for a long time. Athletes notice chronic injuries while they’re playing or exercising. When they’re resting, they feel a dull ache or have swelling.
The seven more common sports injuries are:
- Sprains and strains
- Knee injuries
- Swollen muscles
- Achilles tendon injuries
- Shin pain
How you handle your sports injury could affect how long it takes to recover. When you experience pain, stop whatever you’re doing. Staying in the game or finishing your run can make things worse.
You should seek a doctor right away if you have severe pain, swelling or feel numbness. If you can’t put weight on the area or if you have a joint that feels unstable or you’ve aggravated an old injury, get medical attention.
Fortunately, some mild sports injuries don’t require a doctor’s visit. You can alleviate pain and swelling by following the RICE method. Rest, ice, compression and elevation.
- Rest. Take it easy. If you’ve hurt your foot, ankle, or knee, take weight off of it. Use crutches.
- Ice. 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.
- Compression. 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.
- Elevation. Put the injured area on a pillow, at a level above your heart, to help reduce swelling.
Of course, if your symptoms don’t improve or get worse, call your orthopaedic specialist.
Source: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Information Clearinghouse
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