Sports Accidents and Injuries
If you are an active person who regularly participates in sport, then chances are you have had a sports accident or know of someone who has. They can occur in almost every part of the body, and during every type of sport.
The trouble is that some sports accidents are more severe than others and it can be very challenging, both mentally and physically, working towards recovery. They can range from minor grazes, contusions (bruises) and cuts, to sprains, strains and fractures. Some may require icing and a few days rest, whilst others can render you immobile for extended periods of time. What ever the outcome it can be a serious setback in an athlete’s training or goals.
These types of setbacks can really hamper your confidence, however doing nothing, is not going to help rehabilitate the problem. Maintaining a positive attitude and determination is half the battle when it comes to overcoming sports related injuries.
No matter what kind of sports accident you have sustained, the path towards recovery is usually the same. The process involves:
- Allowing healing
- Working to restore full range of movement and function
- Working to regain gait (depending on area injured)
- Regaining strength
- Regaining flexibility
- Regaining endurance
- Regaining skill
- Regaining confidence
Unfortunately not every sports accident allows for complete recovery in all of these areas, however by using the right balance between rest and physiotherapy, you can ensure your maximum level of recovery.
One thing us sports fanatics can be grateful for in this modern age, is the rapid advancement in our understanding of the human body. These developments have uncovered a wide variety of different ways to help us recover from specific sports related injuries. We now know the importance of both cold and heat therapy, and there are also hundreds of different physiotherapy products available to help protect and prevent injury as well as assist in recovery. These include:
- Cold Compresses – Cold treatment is used initially, as it helps remove the heat of the injury and reduces swelling and pain. It is recommended for 20 minutes every 2-3 hours, for the first couple of days, especially for sprains, strains and muscle tears.
- Heat Therapy – Usually Heat packs are avoided for the first 48 hours after a sports accident, and then applied once the ‘heat’ of the injury has subsided. The heat is thought to also have a pain relieving effect as well as increasing the blood supply and supports healing.
- Supports/Braces – These are designed to support the joint and reduce swelling and pain, whilst also restricting movement to help in the healing process.
- Strapping Tape – Similar to braces and supports, strapping tape can be used to tailor the support needed to a limb or joint.
- Cast Protectors – Are designed to keep casts dry when showering, so that the casts are not damaged and continue to provide bone growth support.
There are also many different types of equipment that are designed to help regain movement, strength and flexibility. Some of these include foam rollers which help reduce soreness and increase muscular range of movement, as well as balance boards and cushions to help retrain proprioception or the ability to balance.
Physiotherapists are trained in helping you recover as much movement and strength as possible after sustaining a sports related injury. They often prescribe a series of stretches and exercises to work towards restoring your flexibility, movements and strength, as well as the use of some of the above mentioned methods, to ensure that you recover as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. So if you sustain an injury, don’t put it off, seek medical advice immediately to ensure that you know the best path towards recovery and don’t risk permanent damage.