We all know that taking part in sports is a good thing. Aside from those times when injury strikes, and it happens to us all at some point. You will be lucky if its minor, and not so lucky if you end up in A&E.

 Stretch to avoid injuries

What causes sports injuries? 

There are a few reasons we may suffer injuries during sports:

  • A fall or a blow
  • Pushing your body too much
  • Not warming up correctly
  • Using poor techniques

Sprains and strains are the most common types of sports injuries. We often pull or twist a part of our body which results in this sort of injury. But we can also suffer from back pain, hamstring pulls and joint inflammation to name but a few!

How can we avoid it?

This is a difficult one, because more and more, we are actively encouraging people to join in sports. Warming up is certainly one method that has been widely accepted as one way to help reduce injuries. Cooling down is another method, although it has neither been show to be true or untrue, so the consensus is that it certainly does no harm.

  • It is important to ensure you have done adequate training in your sport of choice, before engaging in it.
  • Use good equipment that is safe and specific to the sport.
  • Get good advice and coaching to learn the right techniques in your chosen sport.

If it still happens, what can we do?

In the fist instance, the mnemonic RICE is very well known and stands for

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

This advice is perfect for acute soft tissue injuries, but you should always seek advice from your trainer or coach. If your symptoms persist and don't start to get better after a few days, see a GP. Swelling, bruising and stiffness are common symptoms for these types of injuries.

If the injury is more severe, it is a given that you will need to seek professional medical help. Remember, even a bad sprain can take weeks to get get better, so follow all advice and don't pursue your sport until it is safe to do so, or your could risk further damage.

Active rehabilitation is often used too. This means not resting your injury (beyond the first 2 or 3 days) and using it as normal to prevent it from stiffening or not healing correctly. Restoring the range of motion is important, as is regaining the strength. Take this approach slowly and under advisement from your coach or physiotherapist.

Diet can also play a role in recovery. Eating the correct nutrients can help us recover, so treat yourself by all means, but remember to eat a balanced healthy diet and use food as medicine too.

Sources: www.patient.info and www.nhs.uk