Sometimes it doesn’t matter how careful you are, and you’ll find yourself with a sports-related injury. It can be as simple as a bruise, or as complex as a repetitive stress injury. If you find yourself injured, it’s important to take corrective action immediately, because waiting it out or trying to walk it off can often make a small problem much, much worse.
Make sure that you always:
- Wear the correct sports clothing.
- Have appropriate, well-fitting shoes.
- Stretch thoroughly before and after working out or playing sports. Check out this very though Stretching Guide from Netsweat.
- Follow all safety rules for your sport or your gym.
- Keep well hydrated.
- Take time off – at least one day of rest every week.
Identify your Injury
If you’ve followed all of the prevention tips, you can still get injured. This is because, colloquially: sh*t happens. When it does – it’s not the end of the world. Find out what occurred, and take appropriate measures.
- Bruises: this is when blood vessels under the skin burst. These are among the most common and easily identifiable injuries, and are generally not that serious.
- Sprains and Strains: These occur when muscles or tendons are stretched too much or torn. Painful, but not permanent.
- Cuts and Scrapes: When the skin is broken, red, and usually a little bloody.
- Fractures and Breaks: Broken bones. These are never fun.*
- Repetitive Stress Injuries: These are caused by repeating the same motion that causes stress on a particular part of your body such as our ankles, wrists or knees. You’ll notice that soreness in your wrist, for example, persists long after you exercise, and happens more and more quickly after beginning your exercise.
When to see a doctor
If you get a bruise on your shin, or scrape your elbow, chances are, you’ll be just fine on your own. However, you need to watch your injuries carefully, no matter how minor they are, in case they get infected or get worse. Here’s when you should go to your doctor about a sports-related injury:
- It hurts enough that over-the-counter pain medication doesn’t give you relief.
- Putting any weight or pressure on the area causes a great deal of pain.
- You have trouble moving the affected area.
- The pain/swelling does not go down in a day or two.
- You think you might be getting a RSI.
- Cuts and scrapes get warm to the touch, redness spreads around them or it begins seeping.
- Cuts are deep enough to require stitches. That is to say if they gape, or are deep into the flash.
- If you’re not sure. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
*Sometimes what feels like a strain, sprain or bruise can actually be a small bone fracture. If pain persists for a few days, take yourself to the doctor for an X-Ray.
Getting Back in the Game
Depending on your injury, you could be playing again in minutes, or you could be in for a longer healing time. It is very rare that a sports/exercise related injury will keep you inactive forever, but it’s important to take enough time to heal fully! Your doctor will go over this with you, and recommend how much time you should take, and what you can do in the meanwhile. Always listen to your doctor about this! If he or she says six weeks, and you feel fine after four, pop in a DVD and sit back – you shouldn’t be doing anything yet!
Is there anything we’ve missed? Have you suffered a sports-related injury Tell us about it!