Playing sport and doing regular exercise is good for your health, but can sometimes result in injuries.
Sports injuries can be caused by:
Almost any part of the body can be injured, including the muscles, bones, joints and connective tissues (tendons and ligaments). The ankles and knees are some of the most commonly affected areas.
If you've injured yourself, you will probably notice pain, tenderness, swelling, bruising, and restricted movement or stiffness in the affected area immediately. Sometimes, you may only notice these symptoms several hours after exercising or playing sports.
Stop exercising if you feel pain, regardless of whether your injury happened suddenly or you’ve had the pain for a while. Continuing to exercise while you're injured may cause further damage and slow your recovery time. If the injury is minor, you don't usually need to see a doctor and can look after yourself at home (see below), but you may want to visit your GP or local NHS walk-in centre if you need advice or your symptoms don't get better over time.
If the injury is severe, such as a broken bone, dislocation or severe head injury, go to your nearest accident and emergency (AE) department as soon as possible.
You can usually treat minor injuries yourself by:
If your symptoms are severe or don't start to get better within a few days or weeks, your GP may be able to refer you for specialist treatment and support, such as physiotherapy.
Particularly serious injuries will occasionally require a procedure or operation to align any misplaced bones, fix any broken bones, or repair any torn ligaments.
Depending on the type of injury you have, it can take a few weeks or months to make a full recovery. While you recover, it's important not to do too much too fast – aim to increase your level of activity gradually over time.
You can reduce your risk of getting injured by:
If you start a new sport or activity, get advice and training from a qualified healthcare professional or sports coach.
Sport injuries can affect almost any part of the body, including themuscles, bones, joints and connective tissues (tendons and ligaments).
Sprains and strains are the most common type of sports injury. A sprain happens when one or more of the ligaments are stretched, twisted or torn. A muscle strain ("pulling a muscle") happens when muscle tissues or fibres are stretched or torn.
Signs of a sprain or strain can include pain, swelling, bruising and tenderness around a joint or in a muscle. You may also find it difficult to move the affected body part.
Treatment for a sports injury will depend on factors such as how severe the injury is and the part of your body affected. Some general treatments that may be helpful for your injury are described below.
Minor injuries, such as mild sprains and strains, can often be initially treated at home using PRICE therapy for two or three days.
PRICE stands for protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation.
Painkillers, such as paracetamol, can be used to help ease the pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) tablets or creams, such as ibuprofen, can also be used to help ease any pain and help to reduce any swelling.
Aspirin should not be given to children under 16 years of age.
Immobilisation can sometimes help to prevent further damage by reducing movement. It can also reduce pain, muscle swelling and muscle spasm.
For example, slings, splints and casts may be used to immobilise injured arms, shoulders, wrists and legs while you heal.
If you only have a sprain, prolonged immobilisation is not usually necessary, and you should try gently moving the affected joint as soon as you are able to do so without experiencing significant pain.
If you have severe or persistent inflammation, a corticosteroid injection may be recommended.
These can help to relieve pain caused by your injury, although for some people the pain relief is minimal or only lasts for a short period of time. If necessary, the injections can be repeated every few months, but care must be taken to avoid side effects, such as thinning of the skin.
Most sports injuries don't require surgery, but very severe injuries such as badly broken bones may require corrective surgery to fix the bones with wires, plates, screws or rods.
In some cases, however, it may be possible realign displaced bones without needing an operation. Certain other injuries may also occasionally require surgery. For example, an operation may be needed to repair a torn knee ligament.
Depending on the type of injury you have, it can take a few weeks to a few months or more to make a full recovery.
You shouldn't return to your previous level of activity until you have fully recovered, but you should aim to gently start moving the injured body part as soon as possible.
Gentle exercises should help to improve the area’s range of movement. As movement becomes easier and the pain decreases, stretching and strengthening exercises can be introduced.
Make sure you don't try to do too much too quickly, as this can prolong your recovery time. Start by doing frequent repetitions of a few simple exercises, before gradually increasing the amount you do.
In some cases, you may benefit from the help of a professional, such as a sports injury specialist, who can design a suitable recovery programme and advise you about which exercises you should do and the number of repetitions.
Information taken from NHS UK website.Book online now!
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