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Sports Injury Care

Sports Injury Care
Sport injuries are painful and can even be the end of a good sportsperson’s career, if not treated. No matter which sport or the way the injury was caused, the treatment and the time is usually same for all sports.

Acute injuries can happen when you accidentally overstretch a muscle beyond its elasticity level. Minor injuries can be treated using some basic treatment, medicines and rehabilitation strategies.

Timeline of Care of Sport Injuries

  • Immediately after the injury
    There will be an immediate pain with swelling and bruising. The immediate sharp pain might turn to a throbbing ache. The injured area might be sensitive to touch and movement. Usage of this area might be limited for a couple of hours.

Using the RICE Principle, we can treat minor muscle injuries, as explained below:

  • Rest: reduce or stop using the injured area for sometime it recovers before resuming.
  • Ice: apply icepack to the injured area for 20 minutes or so.
  • Compression: Use elastic wraps, splints etc., to compress and injured body part to reduce swelling
  • Elevation: Keep the injured part elevated above the level of the heart.

A Day Later
This is the most painful period after an injury. The pain and swelling will be at its worst. It might turn a deep purple or a deep colour. Continuing with RICE is the best option.

Three days to a Week Later
Sport injuries usually heal within 72 hours and by the third day, the pain, swelling and bruising will subside. The changing of the bruise colour shows the breakdown of blood trapped in the skin due to the injury.

Once the swelling subsides, it is recommended to alternate with icepacks and heat pads. Heat will promote blood circulation to the injured area supplying oxygen and nutrients. Both heat and ice ease pain.

Once the swelling goes down, remove the compression bandage and exercise the injured area gently. Avoid immobilizing injuries for a long time to prevent stiffness and loss of strength.
After a Month
After the first few days of injury, the injured area will be painful but over time like a few weeks or a month, the pain subsides to a lingering one and tenderness might remain. This is normal and using of icepacks, heat pads and medicated sports cream are recommended.
Time to see a Doctor
If there are signs of a severe injury, as shown below, then a medical professional like a doctor must be approached immediately after an injury.

  • Severe Swelling and pain
  • Visible deformities, like large lumps or bent limbs at awkward angles.
  • Popping or crunching sounds on moving the injured area
  • Inability to support injured area
  • Joint instability
  • Breathing problems
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
Authored by Dr Banarji B.H - Shoulder Surgeon, Bangalore

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Baby Das

Last one year I was suffering from acute shoulder pain on my left shoulder. I went to several doctors, but not diagnosed.

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