Playing sports is good for our health, but it can also be dangerous since it can lead to serious injuries. In most cases, the seriousness of an injury can be difficult to ascertain due to swelling or numbness. Moreover, treatment for sports injuries significantly varies depending on the kind of injury and its severity. This can make sports injuries a little tricky to deal with. However, if the injuries are serious or you notice an abnormality, you should immediately take the patient to the nearest emergency room. As such, read on to learn how to treat serious injuries associated with playing sports.
Common Types of Injuries
Any type of injury that occurs during exercise or sports falls under sports injuries. However, the term sports injuries mainly refer to the injuries often experienced in the musculoskeletal system. There are mainly two common types of sports injuries; namely acute and chronic injuries. Acute injuries happen suddenly during activity and are usually caused by a fall or when you accidentally hit a hard object. The following are common types of acute sports injuries:
- Ankle Sprains — tears in ligaments that connect the ends of bones
- Shin Splints — pain in the lower part of the leg
- Strains — tears in the tissues that attach muscles and bones
- Rupture of the Achilles Tendon — this injury affects the large chunk of tissue that connects the heel and muscles
- Bone fracture
- Dislocation of Joints
- Collarbone and Shoulder Dislocation
Acute injuries usually result in sudden, severe pain. Other symptoms of acute sports injuries include swelling, loss of function of the limb, and constant pain.
On the other hand, chronic injuries are usually a result of repetitive motion in sports or overuse of the same body part. For instance, constant running can cause wear and tear on the shins or knees while swimming strokes can cause pain in your shoulders. The pain usually worsens during activity. However, most sports injuries usually do not require surgery, unless they involve badly broken bones or torn knee ligaments. In some cases, displaced bones can be repositioned and treated without an operation.
The following are some of the treatment options you can consider for serious injuries due to sports.
Ligaments and tendons are susceptible to serious injuries like sprains, and the best treatment is regenerative medication. There are many advantages to this type of treatment since it promotes self-healing of the body. As this post about Regenerative Medicine explains, this type of treatment offers patients great relief from severe pain that causes terrible discomfort. This type of treatment comes in the form of an injection, and it enhances the body’s natural healing process. In other words, the medication acts as a stimulant that promotes the body to heal itself. This can be achieved through repairing and regeneration of tissue, and this helps speed up the recovery process.
Many athletes in different places have used this kind of treatment since it is very effective and promotes quick recovery. Essentially, when the body can regenerate damaged cells and ligaments, the healing process will also be quicker. If you prefer to use this particular treatment for sports injuries, be sure to get the right medication from an experienced physician.
Treatment of Acute Injuries
Acute injuries can be severe, especially if they involve strains on the tendon. What happens with strains, in particular, is that the fibers or tendons of the affected muscle are disrupted. The small blood vessels that supply oxygen to the tissues are also broken which causes leaks of blood in the tissue. Subsequently, the injured tissue will swell and become tender and painful. The other thing is, even a bone injury can lead to injury of the surrounding tissue. So how then do you treat acute injuries? Before you visit a physician, you can apply the RICE method, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
Rest The Injury
When you are injured during sports, you should rest the injured area so that the tissue gets time to heal. The primary advantage of resting the injured limb is that the injury is not aggravated, which can increase the pain. You should also not be tempted to continue playing sports when the injury has not fully recovered; this can delay the recovery process. It is essential to take some time — days or even weeks — off, without engaging in any form of hard exercise or sport. The other thing is that you should not rest your limb randomly, but rather try to find an appropriate position that gives you comfort. You can use a special pillow or cushion to rest the injured part so that it is not disturbed.
Ice and Heat Therapy
Different sports injuries often result in swelling that is characterized by inflammation and these are mainly caused by leakage of blood from ruptured capillaries. The blood will then flow into the nearby muscles and tissue. Therefore, the easiest treatment that you can consider in this scenario is to apply ice to the affected area. Ice helps the blood vessels constrict, reducing the flow of blood to the surrounding areas. This helps reduce swelling from the traumatic injury. The other benefit of ice therapy is that it helps reduce muscle spasms which can cause terrible discomfort.
Ice is very effective on fresh injuries since it significantly helps reduce pain and inflammation. Ice has a numbing effect which is good for reducing pain in the affected muscles. You should apply ice packs for at least 15 minutes on the injured area and repeat the process several times a day. Apply ice therapy for about three to four days. This can help with chronic conditions and flare-ups as well. However, you should never apply the ice directly to your skin. You need to cover the ice packs in a towel so that there is no direct contact with the skin, otherwise, you can experience reddening, blisters, or numbness.
After about 48 to 72 hours of applying ice therapy, you can switch to heat treatment to create a balancing effect. Just apply the same principles and frequency when you move to this type of therapy. Heat therapy, like a cold treatment, provides pain relief and helps increase flexibility. Applying heat treatment can also go a long way in reducing joint stiffness and tension around the muscles. When you apply this form of treatment, you will promote quick healing through improved tissue repair that is enhanced by an increase in blood flow.
The pressure generated from compression helps reduce inflammation and swelling. You can apply a simple bandage around the injured area, but you should make sure that it is loose since swelling may develop later. You can also put a small piece of foam rubber underneath the bandage before wrapping, which will help to gently ease the pressure. You do not necessarily need to constrict the entire limb since that can affect the flow of oxygen to other organs.
Elevation is another simple strategy you can use to treat injuries from sports. The strategy works with the force of gravity, which helps drain fluid from the injured tissue. This helps reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. You can put a pillow below your sore limb when in bed or use a stool to elevate your limb when sitting on a sofa. This strategy can enhance quick recovery, and the other advantage is that it is effortless.
You can also consider medication to ease pain and inflammation. You can try painkillers on the first day. There are different over the counter (OTC) brands that you can get that are specifically designed to ease the pain. On day two, consider aspirin as well as other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID). Again, there are different brands that you can get and they are designed to fight pain and inflammation as well. You should take these drugs with food to avoid irritation. The other important thing is, you should avoid prolonged use of NSAID since it can cause other complications.
You can also use ointments, liniments, or gels that consist of anti-inflammatory medications. These ointments, particularly topical anti-inflammatories, are very popular with patients and you do not need a prescription to buy them. These are designed for external use only and help ease pain and are very effective for joint dislocation and sprains.
You can also use immobilization to treat injuries from sports. This method helps reduce movement of the injured part, thereby preventing further damage. It also helps reduce swelling, pain, as well as a muscle spasm. You can use splints, casts, and slings to immobilize injured legs, ankles, shoulders, arms, and wrists. If you have a sprain, you do not necessarily need to immobilize the injured part for a very long period. As soon as you feel that you can move it without feeling pain, try to gently exercise it until you feel it gradually healing.
In case of misaligned or broken bones when your leg is injured, your doctor will put them back in place and the process is known as reduction. Before the procedure, sedatives are provided or, in other instances, local as well as a regional anesthetic is also applied to numb the area. When the bones are realigned, a plaster cast is then applied to hold them in place until full recovery. The plaster is only removed when the bones have fully recovered, but you should constantly visit your physician for reviews to prevent infections.
When you have severe fractures in your broken bones, surgery can be used to fix the problem. Surgeons usually use screws, wires, rods, or plates to fix the bones. Wires can be removed after about six weeks of the operation, whereas rods, screws, and plates are permanently left in the bone — unless they become problematic. An external frame is used to hold the leg in place until it fully recovers. You should not miss any review since infections can arise after an operation.
If you are recovering from a serious, long-term injury, physiotherapy can go a long way in helping you achieve full recovery. This is a special form of treatment that involves the use of massage and exercise to improve the range of motion of the injured limb. It also helps strengthen the muscles surrounding the injured area, which promotes a gradual return to the normal function of the limb.
A physiotherapist normally develops an exercise program that should be followed by the injured person. Apart from strengthening the injured part, physiotherapy helps reduce the risk of recurrence of the injury. It normally takes a few weeks or months to attain full recovery from your injuries. You should not rush to full-time activity until you are satisfied that you have fully recovered.
It is vital to start with gentle exercises to improve the movement of the injured part. Make sure you do not move the injured part quickly during exercise since it can cause discomfort. It is recommended to do simple exercises repeatedly at the beginning of your rehabilitation journey and gradually increase the intensity of your workout. Also, consider building your muscle strength using different weights. This can help you in the long run by reducing the risk of the same injury reoccurring.
Injuries caused by playing sports are common, and they can be either acute or chronic. There are different home remedies that you can apply to treat sports injuries depending on their severity. These treatment methods can be temporary, but they do offer great relief. All the same, you should know that home-based treatment cannot be a substitute for the treatment provided by a physician.
Even though you can manage certain treatments yourself, you should always seek treatment from a professional physician in an emergency care facility, especially if the injury is serious. If you experience severe symptoms like swelling, terrible pain, joint instability, too much pressure on a limb, or numbness, you should immediately see a doctor. Many athletes tend to reinjure themselves or not allow themselves enough time to heal by returning to sports too quickly. This is highly inadvisable. In the long run, it is far more beneficial to allow your body the full time required to heal.