Preventing sports injuries is important, especially during the summer months. Careful preparation, recovery time and a sensible training program can promote a healthy active lifestyle. This article will review the definition of acute and chronic soft tissue injuries, how to respond to a sports injury and ways to help prevent occurrence and recurrence of a sports injury.
In acute injuries, the physical damage to the body is sudden in onset. Common acute injuries may be broken bones or fractures, joint dislocations, strains or sprains, or muscle pain from overuse. Chronic injuries are recurring physical problems that from a previous injury, such as low back, knee or shoulder pain. Either an acute or chronic injury may require immediate medical attention if you are unable to bear weight on an arm or leg, severe pain, swelling (edema) or numbness is present or the joint feels unstable. Always seek professional medical intervention if you are unsure of the severity of your injury. Even if an old physical problem reoccurs or swells, ask your physician and/or chiropractor for help. Immediate intervention for a physical injury is of importance.
The best way to remember the response to a minor soft tissue injury is the acronym R.I.C.E., which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Rest: Stop your activity immediately and rest.
Ice: Place an ice pack on the affected area at least 10 but no longer than 20 minutes. This is to reduce the swelling of the injured area.
Compression: Light compression on an injured body part with give support as well as reduce the swelling. This might be an ACE bandage, boot or air splint. Your physician will recommend the best option for you.
Elevation: Position the injured body part on pillows above the heart level decreases swelling of your injured arm or leg.
There are some simple steps to lower the chance of injury during an outdoor activity as follows:
• Stretch- Make sure you stretch your body prior to any outdoor or sports activity. There are stretches specific to certain sports, such as golf or running. Proper stretching helps to increase blood flow to extremities, warming up muscle groups before rigorous use.
• Warm-up exercises- After stretching, you may want to do a cardio-type activity, such as a treadmill, elliptical or just march in place.
• Use the proper form or framework during outdoor activity. Find an instructor or local club that has folks can help you train correctly.
• Wear shoes that fit you properly. Poor-fitting shoes can contribute to possible foot, knee, hip and low back pain.
• Know your body’s limits. If you feel that you need to rest, listen to your body. By utilizing a sport training program, you can safely and gradually progress toward your fitness goal.
•Plan recovery time in your athletic program. This includes rest or days of lighter activity. Regular massage can make the most of your recovery time, improve joint flexibility and range of motion and keep your posture on target for your best performance.
In conclusion, following these simple steps in your outdoor activity program can keep you in the best possible health.