First Aid for Sports Injuries
(first aid, sport injury, exercise, weight loss, pain treatment, sprains, muscle tears)
If you’re exercising to lose weight, it helps to know some First Aid basics in case you get injured. We have all witnessed professional sports men and women injuring themselves on the sporting field only to get up and continue competing. Many recreational athletes also exercise this practice not realising the potential damage it may cause them in the long term. By taking the appropriate action immediately after injuring yourself can reduce your rehabilitation time by days and may prevent long-term injury.
As with any injury, seek medical and professional advice and undertake a specialised rehabilitation program, such as those designed by a physiotherapist.RICE
This first response medical treatment is widely used for an array of sporting injuries. This medical treatment is appropriate for all soft-tissue injuries such as sprains, strains and tears. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
Stop your activity immediately upon feeling pain. If the pain disappears, slowly attempt to start your activity again. If you continue to feel any pain, stop and rest the injured area. As in the case of an ankle sprain, do not remove your shoe until you are able to ice and bandage the area. Leaving your shoe on acts like a compression bandage, until you are able to administer appropriate medical treatment.
Apply ice to the area. This will reduce swelling as the blood vessels constrict due to the cold temperature. Icing can be in the form a plastic bag filled with ice, an ice bath for ankle and foot injuries or an ice cup. To make an ice cup, fill a plastic or styrofoam cup with water and freeze. The cup gives you something to hold onto as you ice the area. As the ice melts, peel away the top part of the cup. Please remember if you are using an ice cup for direct contact between your skin and the ice, you must keep the cup moving over the area, otherwise you will get ice ‘burn’. A good amount of icing in the first 48 hours is crucial to reducing swelling. Try 20 minutes of icing at 20 minute intervals. In other words, 20 minutes on then 20 minutes off.
Using a compression bandage or an elasticised bandage will help reduce the swelling and stabilise the area. You must make sure that the bandage is firm without being too tight. Fingers or toes going cold or turning white or purple is an indication that the bandage may be too tight. The bandage should not only compress the injury site but also the surrounding area. For example, if you are strapping an ankle, make sure the bandage is around the ankle and either side of the ankle area.
Elevating or raising the injured area also reduces fluid pressure and helps to reduce swelling and limit bleeding. If possible, lie down and raise the injured area to a level that it is higher than your heart. This helps to reduce the amount of blood pooling around the site of injury.
It is always advisable to seek medical advice soon after sustaining an injury. Your local GP, physiotherapist or sports doctor are good places to start. By treating your injury as soon as possible, you will heal faster and be back to playing sport or exercising at your local gym sooner.
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