- Rest and evaluate injury: stop physical activities, apply ice/heat packs, and elevate the injured area.
- Consult a doctor to reduce pain and increase recovery with proper treatment.
- Reduce physical activity to protect against further damage or chronic injuries.
- Manage the emotional impact of injury with help from family, friends, and therapists.
- Seek legal assistance to defend yourself against foul play in contact sports.
Playing sports as a social activity or physical exercise has numerous benefits to both mental and physical health. Studies have shown that regular physical activity, such as sports, can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Playing sports contributes to physical health, but it also helps to improve mental health by helping manage stress levels, strengthen self-confidence and self-esteem, combat depression and anxiety symptoms, and cultivate friendships with teammates.
In addition to these direct benefits of playing sports for mental and physical health, research has also shown that participating in organized sporting activities can improve academic performance by increasing focus and concentration skills. Playing sports can also help promote teamwork among group members while building a sense of responsibility toward their respective roles on the team.
However, getting those benefits mean that you will also get exposed to potential risks. One of them is getting injured. While nobody likes to think about injuries, knowing what to do in the event of one is essential. Here are a few steps to consider.
Rest and Evaluate
It is essential to stop physical activities when injured to prevent further injury and ensure a quicker recovery. When damage occurs, it is necessary to rest the affected area to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain associated with the injury. Suppose the activity is continued after an injury has occurred. In that case, it could damage the injured area further due to increased pressure applied or repetitive movements that may exacerbate existing trauma.
Here are a few things you can do to help alleviate the pain or recover from the injury while resting at home:
If the injury has swelled, ice compression is the best way to reduce it. Apply an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables to the affected area for 15 minutes every two hours in the first 24-48 hours after sustaining the injury.
Applying a heat pack to the injured area will help reduce pain and stiffness. Heat also helps increase blood flow, speeding up the healing process. Use caution when applying heat as it could cause further damage if applied for too long or at too high a temperature. However, you must determine if ice or heat is the proper remedy.
Immobility is an integral part of recovery. Elevating the injured area (above your heart level) will help reduce swelling by decreasing blood flow to the affected area.
Reducing physical activity means getting enough rest. Sleep helps the body repair itself, so bring plenty when injured.
In addition, stopping physical activities can help protect against debilitating chronic injuries that can occur over time due to repeated stress on a particular part of the body. For example, tendinitis often develops from overuse or excessive strain in one place and can take months to heal if not adequately addressed. By stopping activities when experiencing pain or soreness in an area of the body, you allow yourself enough time for healing and recovery before returning to physical activities without risking additional harm.
Once you have taken the necessary steps to start recovery and reduce inflammation, contact your doctor or primary healthcare provider. Consulting with a medical professional is especially important if the pain persists despite rest, ice compression, and elevation of the injured area. A doctor can recommend further treatment options, such as physical therapy or medication that may help improve your condition.
In addition to treating a sports injury, your doctor can advise on how best to prevent future injuries from occurring in the same spot by creating healthy habits and strengthening weak areas to protect yourself against potential harm.
Unfortunately, you might require surgery to treat a severe sports injury, such as an ACL tear or rotator cuff tendinitis. Surgery is usually a last resort but can be necessary if the injury has caused significant damage that cannot be resolved with the recommended rest and recovery techniques.
Getting injured means you will be inactive in plenty of aspects of life. You will have to take paid leaves from your job to recover and miss important social events or gatherings of family and friends. You may have to suspend the physical activities you enjoyed most temporarily.
Of course, the financial responsibilities of recovering from an injury can also significantly impact your life. Depending on the severity of your injury and the treatment you receive, medical bills, missed payments, and other financial obligations can affect your overall well-being.
It is also vital to address whether your injury was accidental or intentional. Reporting the incident and protecting yourself against further harm is essential if foul play is involved in a contact-based sport. It would help if you considered hiring a reliable personal injury attorney to help with legal issues.
Managing the emotional impact of an injury can be difficult, and it is normal to feel frustrated, angry, or sad about this sudden change in your life. To help manage these emotions, seek help from family members and friends for support. Talking to a therapist or joining a recreational sports league can also help you stay physically active while managing the stress associated with recovery from an injury.
Sports-related injuries can be excruciating and may require significant rest, treatment, and rehabilitation before returning to the activities you love. However, getting back in the game quickly and safely is possible by understanding what to do when injured, taking care of your health, and seeking medical advice when necessary.