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How to Prevent Sport Injury

Young athletic man running at park during cold autumn morning

Some common sports injuries are sprains (stretching or tearing of the ligament that connects two bones) and strains (damage to a muscle or tendon). About 25,000 sprains/strains occur per day and can be caused by anything that places sudden or unaccustomed stress on joints or muscles, such as falls, lifting heavy objects, or starting an unfamiliar sport. Chronic overuse of a joint can also lead to these injuries.

After an injury, try RICE therapy. Rest the body part to avoid further injury and to start the healing process. Apply an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes, three times a day for the first 48 hours to reduce blood flow to the area, reduce swelling and help with the pain. Compression with an ACE wrap, air cast, or splint can also help with the swelling and provide some pain relief. Re-wrap the area less tightly if the wrap worsens the pain. Lastly, elevate the injured body part above heart level to help reduce swelling. If you have severe pain or there is no improvement in symptoms after 48 hours, make an appointment with a doctor.

The best treatment for any injury is prevention. Injuries most often occur from improperly warming up and not stretching muscles before intense physical activity. Maintaining a healthy weight, good fluid intake, and a well-balanced diet also keeps the muscles strong. Also prevent injuries by wearing shoes that fit properly, using appropriate protective equipment, and practicing safe and proper techniques for your sport.

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Written by Gary Visser

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