Did you know that more than twenty percent of all sports-related injuries require taking a break from physical activities for at least a week?
It can be frustrating if you have a sports injury that is keeping you from doing the things that you love to do. The good news is that there are several things that you can start doing to fully recover.
We’ve written a guide that breaks down the top physio activities that will help you to recover. Keep reading to find out more.
Use the Rice Technique for Sports Injury Recovery
If you’ve had to go to the emergency room to treat an ankle sprain or strain, you’ve probably heard a doctor tell you to get lots of rest, place ice on the injury, apply compression, and elevate the injured limb.
This is known as the RICE technique. It is a simple self-care technique that will reduce swelling, get rid of pain, and shorten the length of the healing process.
You can treat minor injuries from the comfort of your home by making use of the RICE method. Consider trying it if your knee, wrist, or ankle is sore after playing sports. Here are the steps involved in this technique.
Get Some Rest
Once you realize that you have a sports injury, you should stop what you are doing and get some rest. And remember that pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong.
Try not to do anything that involves using the injured part of your body for at least two days. If you have injured a part of your leg, don’t put any weight on it for at least one day. This will prevent bruising.
Don’t try to be tough by playing the game of “no pain, no gain”. This can aggravate your injury and make it worse, especially if you have a severe ankle strain.
The best thing you can do to reduce swelling and pain is to apply ice to the injured part of your body. You should apply ice every several hours for at least fifteen minutes.
After two days have passed, assess how you are feeling. If the swelling has gone down, you can start applying ice less frequently.
If you don’t have an ice pack, you can use a package of frozen fruits or vegetables. Cover the ice pack with a towel or cloth if you want to keep yourself from getting frostbite.
Focus on Compression
Compression means wrapping the injured part of your body. You need to do this to prevent swelling. The best way to apply compression is by wrapping the injured area with a medical bandage.
You should feel pressure around the area you’re wrapping, but just make sure that it is not too tight. This will cut off blood flow.
You can tell if the bandage is wrapped too tightly if your skin starts turning blue or if it starts to tingle. If your symptoms don’t go away after loosening the bandage, get medical help.
Elevate the Affected Limb
The last thing you should focus on is elevating the injured part of your body so that it is raised above your heart.
After doing this, you’ll probably notice that the swelling will go down and that the injury will become less painful.
If you’ve sprained your ankle, you can hold your foot up by placing several pillows underneath it. Try your best to keep the wounded part of your body elevated as often as possible, even when you are not applying ice.
If your injury gets worse after trying the RICE technique, you should think about working with a sports physio.
Combine Treatments with RICE
Your healthcare provider might recommend that you use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as naproxen or ibuprofen.
Some of these types of medication are available over the counter, but the stronger anti-inflammatory medications will require you to get a prescription.
It is also a good idea to combine the RICE technique with sports massage. A skilled sports massage therapist will be able to target specific muscles that are injured.
Most sessions last for about an hour and a half. By getting a sports massage when you are injured, you will reduce the risk of getting injured again.
Visit a Sports Physio or Doctor to Get a Diagnosis
If you have not healed your injury after using the RICE technique and after several days have passed, you should visit a physiotherapist to get a diagnosis.
Your physio will perform a thorough clinical examination that will include things such as x-rays and scans.
They will get to the bottom of what is wrong and will help you to develop a strategy for rehabilitation so that you can safely and quickly recover.
Immobilise the Injury
It’s possible to prevent your injury from getting worse by immobilising it. This will also rid you of pain, reduce swelling, and prevent muscle spasms.
You can use things such as slings, casts, and splints to immobilise your shoulders, wrists, ankles, and arms.
If you are recovering from a sprain, it is not always helpful to immobilise your injury for a lengthy period of time.
As soon as the swelling goes down, start trying to gently move the injured joint, but make sure to stop if you experience significant pain.
If you’re still recovering from a past sports injury, you should consider doing physiotherapy.
Physiotherapists use techniques such as massage and manipulation. They will also guide you through exercises that will help to restore your range of motion and to build muscle around the affected areas.
This means that you’ll be able to quickly and safely recover from your injury.
It’s an especially good idea to visit a physiotherapist if you want to get relief from joint pain.
Range of Motion Exercises
Once the swelling has gone down, you should put together an exercise regime to increase the range of motion of your injured body part.
It’s a good idea to perform this exercise regime under the guidance of a healthcare professional. They will help you perform the exercises in the correct way.
If you have severe inflammation, your healthcare provider might suggest that you get a corticosteroid injection. This will help to get rid of the pain.
People who have more serious injuries might need to get several corticosteroid injections that are spread over a period of one or more years.
Keep in mind that there are various side effects that are associated with corticosteroid injections. This includes losing fat, infections, and thinning of the skin.
Make sure to ask your healthcare provider about possible side effects before having them give you a shot.
Some Types of Injuries Might Require Surgery
Most people will not need to get surgery if they get injured while playing sports. But if you’ve broken a bone or a torn ligament, you might need to have an operation. It might be necessary to fix broken bones with wires, plates, screws, or rods.
If you have displaced bones, you might be able to realign them without needing to go through surgery.
Regain Regular Movement patterns and Recover Muscle Strength
Once your healthcare provider says that it is safe to do so, you should start trying to regain regular movement patterns.
If you are recovering from a leg injury, you’ll need to focus on returning to a normal walking pattern. Your goal should be to start transferring weight from your feet to the knees and from the hip to the back.
It is normal to have an abnormal walking pattern if you are still experiencing pain or if your muscles are weak. It is imperative that you completely address these problems before you start playing sports again.
If your muscles have grown weak, consider doing resistance training to strengthen them. This will improve your balance and will strengthen the injured parts of your body.
Find the Best Physio in Glasgow and Hamilton
If you want to quickly and safely recover from a sports injury, it is a good idea to work with the best possible physio. If you have a sprain or a strain, consider using the RICE technique to get rid of swelling and pain.
Do you need to get a diagnosis and treatment for your sports injury? If so, Core Clinic and Bothwell Medical rooms are here to help you while providing recovery tips. Find out more about the physiotherapy treatments that we offer.