Sports injuries are not something anyone looks forward to, but unfortunately, these types of injuries affect millions of kids and adults every year. It’s only natural to feel angry and frustrated by a sports injury. However, instead of getting down, the best way to recover from an injury is to get back up responsibly and of course, your body still needs time to heal.

How Should I Treat a Sports Injury?

In the immediate aftermath of a sports injury, the best treatment is RICE:

  • Rest – the first 24-48 hours after sustaining a sports injury is the time to rest. Try as much as possible to limit strenuous activity or put weight on the affected area.
  • Ice – it is a good idea to regularly ice an injury over the first couple of days. An ice pack or other substitution like a bag of frozen peas should be placed on the injury area for 15-20 minutes at a time in intervals of every 2-3 hours.
  • Compression – early compression will help reduce swelling. Carefully wrap the injured body part with an elastic medical bandage making sure it’s snug but not tight enough to block circulation.
  • Elevate – swelling is the body’s natural healing mechanism at work as fluids and white blood cells rush to repair the injury, however, if you begin experiencing painful swelling, elevate the affected area above heart level. This will help suppress the throbbing sensation and subdue the pain.

Contrary to popular belief, a long period of sedentariness after sustaining a sports injury can negatively impact your recovery. Instead, medical professionals and physiotherapists recommend slowly incorporating mild to moderate exercise as soon as possible.

How Can I Speed Up Recovering from a Sports Injury?

RICE is often used immediately following an injury, but once the swelling and inflammation have subsided, it’s a good idea to get moving again with the consultation and help of a professional. A trained physiotherapist will be able to assess your injury and develop a tailored recovery plan.

A sports injury treatment plan may include one or more of the following:

  • Alternating ice and heat
  • Soft tissue and joint mobilization
  • Mobility and stretching movements
  • Strengthening exercises
  • A long-term preventing plan (to be followed at home)

Even when immobilization is required to limit the movement of a specific body part while an injury heals, moving again is crucial to a speedy recovery.

What Can I Do to Prevent Sports Injuries?

Sports injury prevention is certainly preferable to treatment, and while it is impossible to safeguard against all sports elated accidents, you can reduce your odds of sustaining a severe injury.

Most musculoskeletal sports injuries are caused by poor overall physical health and insufficient warm and cool downtime. Both these issues are easily addressed through exercise and proper stretching techniques.

A physiotherapist can help develop a plan targeted to your fitness goals, in this case, helping prevent sports injuries. Basic preventative steps include;

  • A well-rounded fitness regimen including cardiovascular and strengthening exercises
  • Sufficient warm-up and cool-down time
  • Staying hydrated and sticking to a well-balanced diet
  • Avoiding playing when overly exhausted
  • Ensuring you have the right equipment for the sports you participate in
  • Recognizing the signs of an injury and treating it promptly – first with RICE and follow up with professional care if not improved within 48 hours

A physiotherapist can help you with your training by making sure you use the proper techniques when stretching and exercising, as well as regularly monitoring your plan to ensure it still meets your fitness goals.