If you’re active, chances are good that you’ll develop an injury at some point in your life. If you play sports or participate in strenuous physical activity, the likelihood of this happening increases even more. The good news is that most types of injuries can be treated and prevented with the right knowledge and actions on your part. This article will guide you on sports injury treatment, including how to deal with them and when to see a doctor if needed.
Rest the injury.
Resting the injured area is the first step in sports injury treatment. Resting allows your body to heal and decrease pain, swelling, and inflammation.
You can rest an injury by:
- Taking a break from the activity that caused the injury (e.g., not playing soccer for a week)
- Using ice packs on your sore muscles (see below)
Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling.
Applying a cold compress to your injury helps reduce swelling.
To apply a cold compress:
- Fill a bowl with ice cubes, then add water until the ice melts and becomes cold water. Alternatively, you can use crushed ice from the freezer or an insulated gel pack.
- Place the pack on top of your injury for 15-20 minutes. Repeat every one to two hours as needed until the swelling is gone (usually within 24 hours).
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
As sports injury treatment, taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, as directed by the label. If you are taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), follow all directions on the package and be aware of any potential side effects.
Take your medication with food if possible, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor or pharmacist. Also, drink plenty of fluids while taking these drugs because they can cause stomach upset and nausea in some people.
Elevate the injured area above heart level to reduce swelling and ease the pain.
The most common sports injury treatment is to elevate the injured area above heart level. This will reduce swelling and ease pain, helping your body heal faster. You can use a pillow or ice pack to accomplish this, but ensure it’s not too high. For example, if you lie on your back and your head tilted back, you may have placed the pillow too high between your neck and shoulders.
If you treat a sprained ankle with elevation therapy, place an ice pack under the ankle for 15 minutes every hour for 12 hours after the injury occurs (or until there has been no significant improvement). When using an ice pack on any injury, wrap it in a cloth first so it doesn’t come into direct contact with skin; this will prevent burning or frostbite while still providing cold therapy treatment!
Follow a rehab program that your doctor gives you.
Following a rehab program that your doctor gives you is important because it can help you return to sports activity, prevent future injuries, prevent future pain and discomfort, and prevent immobility.
You should always seek medical attention if you are injured. Your doctor may refer you to another specialist (such as a physiotherapist) or prescribe medication. If your doctor can’t treat the injury, they may advise that you see someone with expertise in sports medicine or physical therapy. They should also advise on how best to treat your injury at home when they are not available and what symptoms need urgent attention.