An acute sports injury is one in which there is a specific mechanism of injury (hit by a ball, plant, and twist, collision with an opponent) and an immediate onset of symptoms including swelling, pain, bleeding, and possible deformity. A number of types of sports injuries can be considered acute including; sprains (injury to ligaments), strains (injury to muscles), contusions (bruise), dislocation, and fractures.
An overview of acute sports injury
You may be a good player and may get sidelined from the sport when you have an acute injury because muscle injuries are the most painful ones. Muscle injuries are caused by sudden stretching of muscle over its maximum elastic range. But for treating these, you would not require a professional to treat. You must know the basics of the treatment and rehabilitation of the injury.
Following the injury, you must start the PRICE therapy for the first 48 to 72 hours. It helps in alleviating the swelling, reducing the pain, and in preventing further injury. What does PRICE mean? Read below to know more.
Depending on your injury, a device is used that gives protection to the injured area. This technique helps in preventing any further injury. These devices would include ace bandage, aluminum splint, protective tape, braces, etc.
Your injured area must be in rest; this helps your body to initiate its healing mechanisms. Do not move the injured area at all, because movement increases circulation to the injured area which leads to further damage and increases swelling.
If your injury is near the lower extremity, then you can use crutches to rest the extremity. You must totally take off the weight and reduce regular activities. You must use the crutch on the right side if your left foot ankle is injured and vice versa.
You should apply an ice pack on the injured area for at least 20 minutes, approximately four to eight times in a day. Applying ice pack would be more beneficial during the first or second day of injury. It reduces the blood flow to the injured area, and relieves you from pain and helps in preventing the swelling. Placing the ice directly on the bare skin may give you frostbite. So, better use a cold pack or a bag of frozen veggies wrapped in a towel.
Compressing the injured area with an elastic wrap reduces the swelling, but make sure that you apply even pressure on the injury. Compressing the injury also aids in immobilizing the area. If you feel any discomfort or tingling near the wrap remove it and re-wrap it a bit loosely. Compressing too tightly may restrict the blood flow.
Elevating the injured part above the level of your heart helps in draining the fluid away and thereby reduces the swelling. You can try elevating it to the same level of heart or almost close to it. In case if the injured area is near your buttocks or hips, then it is good for you to place a pillow under the lower back and try to lift the area of injury.
What to do a day later, after the injury?
This phase would probably be most painful. You may experience bruising; that may turn the injured area into black or purple. You can continue the PRICE therapy. In case if the pain gets worse, then an OTC pain reliever would help you out.
Point to remember: During the first three days of a sports injury, you must not apply the heat pack because heat increases the circulation and worsens swelling.
What to do a week later, after the injury?
Your pain would go from more severe to less severe within a week. Sometimes you would notice only tenderness near the injury. Swelling will reduce, and the blackish discoloration starts to vanish. If your swelling has faded away, then you can alternate both heat and cold packs. This helps in treating the leftover pain, and simultaneous heat packs are recommended so as to increase the blood flow thereby increasing the oxygenation and nutrients supply to the injured area. This process helps in early healing.
Do not keep yourself away from the sports you love. Instead, try to reduce the risk of repeated injuries. Practice proper stretching and perform moderate exercises. They can help prevent the injuries of any kind. Good luck!