Sports Injury? What to do? When?

john miller physiotherapist

Article by John Miller


Sports Injury Management

sports physio

You probably already know that a sports injury can not only affect your performance, but also your lifestyle. The latest research continues to change sports injury management considerably.  Our challenge is to keep up to date with the latest research and put them to work for you.

How we treated you last year could vary greatly to how we treat you this year. The good news is that you can benefit significantly from our knowledge. 

What Should You Do When You Suffer a Sports Injury?

Rest?

Rest from painful exercise or a movement is essential in the early injury stage. "No pain. No gain." does not apply in most cases.  The rule of thumb is - don't do anything that reproduces your pain for the initial two or three days.  After that, you need to get it moving or other problems will develop.

Ice or Heat?

We normally recommend avoiding heat (and heat rubs) in the first 48 hours of injury. The heat encourages bleeding, which could be detrimental if used too early. In traumatic injuries, such as ligament sprains, muscle tears or bruising, ice should help reduce your pain and swelling.

Once the "heat" has come out of your injury, heat packs  can be used. We recommend 20 minute applications a few times a day to increase the blood flow and hasten your healing rate. Heat will also help your muscles relax and ease your pain. If you're not sure what to do, please call us to specifically discuss your situation.

Should You Use a Compressive Bandage?

Yes. A compressive bandage will help to control swelling and bleeding in the first few days.  In most cases, the bandage will also help to support the injury as the new scar tissue is laid down. This should help to reduce your pain. Some injuries will benefit from more rigid support such as a brace or strapping tape. Please ask us if you are uncertain what to do next.

Elevation?

Gravity will encourage swelling to settle at the lowest point.  Elevation of an injury in the first few days is very helpful, especially for ankle or hand injuries.  Think where your injury is and where your heart is. Try to rest your injury above your heart.

What Medication Should You Use? 

Your Doctor or Pharmacist may recommend pain killers or an anti-inflammatory drug. It is best to seek their professional advice as certain drugs can interfere with other health conditions, especially asthmatics.

When Should You Commence Physio? 

In most cases, "the early bird gets the worm".  Researchers have found that intervention of physiotherapy treatment within a few days has many benefits.  These include:

  • Relieving your pain quicker via joint mobility techniques, massage and electrotherapy
  • Improving your scar tissue using techniques to guide the direction it forms
  • Getting you back to sport or work quicker through faster healing rates
  • Loosening or strengthening of your injured region with individually prescribed exercises
  • Improving your performance when you do return to sport - we'll detect and help you to correct any biomechanical faults that may be affecting your technique or predisposing you to injury

What If You Do Nothing?

Research tells us that injuries left untreated take longer to heal and have lingering pain.  They are also more likely to recur and leave you with either joint stiffness or muscle weakness. It's important to remember that symptoms lasting longer than three months become habitual and are much harder to solve.  The sooner you get on top of your symptoms the better your outcome.

What About Arthritis?

Previously injured joints can prematurely become arthritic through neglect. Generally there are four main reasons why you develop arthritis:

  • Previous injury that was inappropriately treated (eg old joint or ligament sprains)  
  • Poor joint positioning (biomechanical faults)
  • Stiff joints (lack of movement diminishes joint nutrition)
  • Loose joints (excessive sloppiness causes joint damage through poor control)

What About Your Return to Sport?

Your physiotherapist will guide you safely back to the level of sport at which you wish to participate.  If you need guidance, simply ask us.

What If You Need Surgery or X-rays?

Not only will your physio diagnose your sports injury and give you the "peace of mind" associated, they'll also refer you elsewhere if that's what's best for you. Think about it. you could be suffering needlessly from a sports injury.  Please use our expert advice to guide you out of pain quicker . and for a lot longer.

If you have any questions regarding your sports injury (or any other condition), please contact your physiotherapist to discuss. You'll find our friendly staff happy to point you in the right direction.

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Related Topics

  • Early Injury Treatment
  • Avoid the HARM Factors
  • Soft Tissue Injury? What are the Healing Phases?
  • What to do after a Muscle Strain or Ligament Sprain?
  • Acupuncture and Dry Needling
  • Sub-Acute Soft Tissue Injury Treatment
  • Core Exercises
  • Rotator Cuff Exercises
  • Closed Kinetic Chain Exercises
  • Active Foot Posture Correction Exercises
  • Gait Analysis
  • Biomechanical Analysis
  • Balance Enhancement Exercises
  • Proprioception & Balance Exercises
  • Medications?
  • Real Time Ultrasound Physiotherapy
  • Soft Tissue Massage
  • Ankle Strapping
  • Brace or Support
  • Electrotherapy & Local Modalities
  • Heat Packs
  • Joint Mobilisation Techniques
  • Kinesiology Tape
  • Knee Arthroscopy
  • Neurodynamics
  • Physiotherapy Instrument Mobilisation (PIM)
  • Prehabilitation
  • Running Analysis
  • Strength Exercises
  • Stretching Exercises
  • Supportive Taping & Strapping
  • TENS Machine
  • Video Analysis
  • Yoga
  • Common Sports Injuries

  • Achilles Tendon Rupture
  • Achilles Tendonitis / Tendinitis
  • ACL Injury
  • Adductor Tendinopathy
  • Anterior Ankle Impingement
  • Avascular Necrosis of the Femoral Head
  • Back Muscle Pain
  • Bicep Tendonitis
  • Bulging Disc
  • Bunion
  • Bursitis Knee
  • Bursitis Shoulder
  • Calf Muscle Tear
  • Chondromalacia Patella
  • Compartment Syndrome
  • Corked Thigh
  • Cramps
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Dislocated Shoulder
  • DOMS - Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
  • Facet Joint Pain
  • Fat Pad Syndrome
  • Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)
  • Gluteal Tendinopathy
  • Golfers Elbow
  • Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome
  • Groin Strain
  • Hamstring Strain
  • Heel Spur
  • High Ankle Sprain
  • Hip Arthritis (Osteoarthritis)
  • Hip Labral Tear
  • Hip Pointer
  • ITB Syndrome
  • Knee Arthritis
  • Knee Ligament Injuries
  • Lateral Collateral Ligament
  • Medial Collateral Ligament Sprain
  • Meniscus Tear
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Morton's Neuroma
  • Muscle Strain
  • Neck Arm Pain
  • Neck Headache
  • Neck Sprain
  • Olecranon Bursitis
  • Osteitis Pubis
  • Overuse Injuries
  • Patella Tendonitis (Tendinopathy)
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
  • Peroneal Tendonitis
  • Pes Anserinus Bursitis & Tendinitis
  • Pes Planus - Flat Feet
  • Pinched Nerve
  • Piriformis Syndrome
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Plica Syndrome
  • Poor Hip Core
  • Posterior Ankle Impingement
  • Posterolateral Corner Injury
  • Retrocalcaneal Bursitis
  • Rotator Cuff Syndrome
  • Rotator Cuff Tear
  • Sacroiliac Joint Pain
  • Sciatica
  • Severs Disease
  • Shin Splints
  • Shoulder Impingement
  • Shoulder Tendonitis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Spondylolysis (Back Stress Fracture)
  • Sprained Ankle
  • Stress Fracture Feet
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Thigh Strain
  • Tibialis Posterior Tendinopathy
  • TMJ Dysfunction
  • Trochanteric Bursitis
  • Call PhysioWorks

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    Last updated 04-Oct-2017 05:24 PM

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