Sprained ankles. Stretched knee ligaments. Strained hamstrings. These are just some of the awful injuries that plague sports lovers, whether they be professional athletes or social weeknight players. Apart from the obvious pain and discomfort, a sporting injury can result in a truly frustrating experience, as you are restricted from doing the thing you love. Here are five simple things you can do in order to minimise that recovery period as much as possible.
A popular response treatment for soft muscle tissue injuries, R.IC.E stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. As soon as the injury occurs, you should implement this system. Rest means the affected area should be supported and remain inactive for at least two days post injury. Items such as slings, braces and crutches will all aid with this, depending on the type of damage – for more information on what types of products are available, check out a retailer such as Optomo ( www.optomo.com.au ), which specialises in sports medicine, exercise equipment and first aid kits.
Ice indicates that ice should be applied for 20 minutes every two hours. Compression prompts you to securely and firmly bandage the injured area in order to minimise swelling. Elevation requires you to lift the injured area above heart level, unless this results in further pain of course.
2. Get Diagnosed Early
One of the worst things you can do is ignore or incorrectly diagnose your injury. This could potentially lead to long-term issues, not to mention drastically increasing your necessary recovery period. Don’t take the risk; book yourself in with a qualified medical professional and get their expert opinion.
3. Don’t Overmedicate
Pain management is a precise undertaking, so be sure to listen carefully to your doctor or physio. Overmedicating may relieve you of soreness, but at the end of the day, it will simply be masking potential damage that may remain. If you are overmedicating in the hope of returning to the field/court/track etc. quicker, stop! Unless you want to be perpetually hooked on pain medication, your best course of action is to let your body heal and let the pain diminish naturally.
4. Opt for Low-impact Exercises
Can’t wait any longer to get active? Sick of spending days and nights in bed in front of the television? When you’ve been given the all-clear by a medical professional to start exercising, it’s best to start small and ease your way back into things. Low-impact activities such as swimming and cycling are ideal for this, whereas anything involving jumping or running will likely prove to be too much of a shock for your joints.
5. Listen to your Body
The number one thing you can do – and it’s the simplest – in order to quickly recover from a sporting injury is to listen to your body. It may not have a conventional voice, but every ache, crack and pop is extremely telling. While any form of physical activity is going to push to our limits, learn to recognise the signs and when to give yourself a break.
Have you recently suffered a sporting mishap? What happened and how long did it take for you to recover?