A sports injury can be a minor set back or completely debilitating. The actions you take after your injury may determine how long it will take you to recover.
If you get injured while playing sports, the extent of the injury and level of pain will dictate the actions you take. The most common sports injuries are sprains, knee injuries, swollen muscles, Achilles tendon injuries, fractures and dislocations.
If you are in a lot of pain, the best thing to do is get the sports injury diagnosed. If your coach thinks your injury is bad enough to warrant a doctor or emergency room visit, by all means do it.
The RICE Method:
- Rest: Initially, do not do anything that brings on pain for two or three days
- Ice or Heat: Ice will reduce swelling and pain. Heat will increase blood flow and could be detrimental immediately following an injury. Heat will help your muscles relax once a few days have passed.
- Compression Bandage: A compression bandage can help to control swelling or bleeding the first few days. In more severe cases, you may need a ridged support.
- Elevation: By elevating your injury you can prevent swelling. Leg or arm injuries should be above the heart.
Visit your Physical Therapist: Research has shown that physical therapy treatments can decrease healing time, strengthen the injured area and improve performance when you return to your sport (depending on the type of injury).
If you do nothing, you risk lingering pain, and the odds of you re-injuring yourself increase.