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Recovering from a Sports Injury: A 5-Step Action Plan

A sports injury cannot only lead to a great deal of pain, but it could affect your mobility and prevent you from returning to an active lifestyle in the near future.

While the inactivity can be frustrating, there are actions you can take to alleviate pain, rebuild your strength and avoid the risk of future injuries.

If you want to support your recovery in a healthy manner, so you can return to an activity as soon as possible, read the following five-step action plan for a sports injury.

Step One: Follow the RICE Approach

Unless you have experienced a broken bone or a sports injury that cannot support your weight or leads to misalignment, you should follow the RICE approach, which stands for:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

Rest means you must stop the activity that led to a sports injury immediately, before applying an ice pack that is wrapped in a thin towel for a minimum of 20 minutes. Aim to ice the affected area between four to eight times per day for 20-minute periods over two days.

When using the wrapped ice pack, you should attempt to apply pressure onto the area to reduce swelling. It is also wise to elevate the affected area, so it is positioned above your heart.

Step Two: A Short Course of Over-the-Counter Pain Relief

Unless you cannot take an over-the-counter pain reliever, it might be beneficial to take a short course of aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen, which can reduce inflammation following a sports injury. It is, however, important to discuss over-the-counter pain relievers with your doctor first, especially if you are taking prescribed medication.

Step Three: Use a Heat Pack

Once any swelling has subsided, you should apply moist heat onto an injury. For example, you should invest in a heating pad that features a sponge insert that can be dampened with water, which can help to ease inflammation and pain. It is, however, important not to apply moist heat to broken skin.

Step Four: Perform Gentle Exercises

Once the swelling and inflammation have subsided, you will need to work on improving the range of motion to the injured area. For this reason, it is imperative to consult an experienced physical therapist, as they can recommend various gentle exercises to perform, which can improve your mobility and decrease your pain and suffering.

It is also crucial to follow any gentle exercises prescribed by your physical therapist at home, as they have been designed to speed up the healing process and could help you to return to an activity as soon as possible.

Step Five: Slowly Return to a Sport

It is essential to gently ease back into a sport to prevent a re-injury, which could set you back even further. For example, you might need to adjust your workouts, decrease the length of a session, or incorporate preventative exercises to strengthen the affected muscles.

For treatment relating to various sports-related injuries, get in touch with Icon Medical Centers for comprehensive care to help you on the road to recovery.

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