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Avoiding and preventing sports injuries

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When you’re an athlete, suffering a personal injury is a constant threat. This is especially true when you’re an amateur and spend most of the week sitting at your desk in the office, making you a little rustier when you lace your training shoes up.

There are ways of minimising your risk of suffering an injury, though, so it’s important to know what to do.

Most common injuries

Strains and sprains are the most common types of sporting injuries. They come from over-stretching and overuse of the muscles.

There are also certain injuries that you’re more likely to suffer when you’re taking part in a sporting activity, most of which are related to the muscles. According to WebMD, the most common sports injuries are:

  • Ankle sprains
  • Groin pulls
  • Hamstring strains
  • Shin splints
  • Knee injury – ACL tear
  • Knee injury – Patellofemoral syndrome
  • Tennis elbow

These injuries are difficult to deal with and can take a long time to recover from. This is particularly true in the case of something like an ACL tear, which can take months to heal and usually requires surgery.

Preventing injuries

Suffering a sporting injury is often unavoidable – particularly in the case of a nasty tackle during a football game. But there are a number of things you can do to help avoid the risk of suffering an injury when taking part in the activities you love.

If you’re really dedicated to your sport, consider getting some professional coaching. This is particularly relevant for sports like tennis, where professionals offer coaching at various clubs. They’ll teach you the right way of hitting or kicking or bowling or throwing – whatever it is you specialise in. They can also teach you the right warming up exercises.

Working out on a regular basis will help you condition yourself to avoid these sorts of injuries when you do take part in your weekly sessions. Some experts have also recommended avoiding joining in completely if you’ve sat things out for a while. Try some pre-participation activities before joining the team and you’ll give your muscles a chance to get used to the activity.

Treating injuries

After a sporting injury, the most important thing to do is making sure you get the right treatment. Depending on the severity, this could be medical attention or simple natural healing. The home remedy of rest, ice, compression and elevation – known as the RICE method.

This requires you to recognise as soon as something doesn’t feel right that you need to stop. Rest as much as you can for the first couple of days after the injury. In some cases, you’ll need to limit the weight you bear, particularly on ankle injuries.

Certain painkillers and anti-inflammatories can make you more comfortable during the recovery process too. But you’ll need to know when you do need medical treatment. If you can’t bear any weight or you’re suffering excessive swelling, you should prioritise a visit to your doctor. You should do the same thing if you notice any changes in skin colour – aside from normal bruising – or it isn’t improving after a few days of RICE treatment.

 

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