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    5 Common sport injuries and how to treat them

    Playing sports can be a fun pastime which keeps you healthy, but you may still fall prey to injury. Treating sports injuries can often be done yourself, if you know what to do, but in serious cases a doctor’s treatment is necessary. Managing the pain of minor injuries can often be aided with ibuprofen, but for more serious injuries stronger analgesics such as codeine may be more effective. Being familiar with common sport injuries and how they’re treated prepares you to aid yourself and others. Here are some common injuries and methods of treatment you may have heard of before.

    #1. ACL strain or tear

    This is the most common knee ligament injury. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) connects the shin bone to the thigh bone. Trying to slow down or pivot quickly when running is often the cause. A minor strain or tear can be treated with the RICE therapy. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate.

    Resting the afflicted ligament gives your body the time it needs to repair the damage. Avoid doing strenuous exercises or putting too much pressure on your injury. For your knee, shin and foot injuries, you may want to consider using a walking stick or asking a friend or relative to provide transport if you need to get out and about.

    To reduce the inflammation and pain surrounding the injury, apply an ice pack. If you don’t have an ice pack on hand, you can wrap a bag of ice cubes or frozen peas in a tea towel and place it on the area of the injury. Be cautious when using ice packs for long periods of time as they can cause frostbite.

    Once the pain and inflammation has subsided, compress the injury using a bandage. Be careful not to over tighten the bandage, as this can cause further pain. While wearing the bandage, wear loose clothes to avoid added tension.

    When you rest, you should elevate your injury. Your knee should be raised to the same level as your heart to reduce the sensation of throbbing. Placing a cushion under your knee can help to support your leg and provide comfort while you rest. If you sleep on your side, try placing a pillow between your knees for support.

    A total ACL tear requires surgery and physiotherapy. If you experience a strain, contact your doctor straight away so that they can advise you with the best course of treatment.

    #2. Sprained ankle

    Sprained ankles are common, even among those who don’t play sports. It most often happens on the outside of your ankle from rolling your foot by landing on it the wrong way or stepping into a hole. When the ligaments and tendons in the ankle are forced past their boundaries of movement, they can stretch and tear which results in a sprain. Signs of a sprain include swelling around the ankle joint, pain and tenderness when pressure is applied to the ankle, and bruising to the rear and side of the ankle.

    The recovery time of sprains is dependent on the severity of the sprain and your own bodies ability to repair itself. It’s typical for a sprain to require a few weeks to heal. However, a more serious sprain may require surgery and may take a few months to heal fully. You should speak to your doctor as soon as you suspect you have sprained your ankle for advice on the best course of treatment for you.

    Like a minor ACL injury, RICE therapy should be used for a couple of days after the injury. Then, when you’re able, slowly introduce movement to the injured area to keep it from becoming stiff. Although swelling and pain is a normal reaction with a sprained ankle, if it doesn’t improve with time, see your doctor.

    #3. Golf or Tennis Elbow

    Small tears in the tendons connecting the elbow to the forearm result in golf or tennis elbow. These are repetitive motion injuries. With tennis elbow, the tears are on the outside of the elbow and with golf elbow, the tears are on the inside. Gripping a tennis racquet or golf club too tightly sometimes creates the injury. Other activities that could cause the injury are gardening with shears or painting with a brush or roller.

    A cold compress, such as an ice pack or a wet towel, is often recommended for treating tennis or golf elbow, along with rest, stretching and strengthening exercises. You may want to use a splint or brace to support your injured muscles and relieve some of the strain. Keep to a lesser range of motion with your elbow and avoid moving your affected arm in a sporadic movement. Ibuprofen may be used to treat the pain and reduce the inflammation surrounding the muscle, but ask your doctor if you think something stronger, such as codeine would be more effective.

    #4. Shin Splints

    Pain in the lower leg bones or tibiae is often called shin splints. It often happens in sports that involve a lot of running, but we have compiled the best bunning shoes for shin splints to stay away from this pain. It can also occur as a result of improper warm-ups or cool-downs, or from improper arch supports for your feet. Increasing activity too early in the sporting season is also a contributing factor.

    The best way to treat shin splints is with ice and rest. Use ice for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for a few days. Resume activity slowly in order to prevent relapse. Your doctor may recommend seeing a physiotherapist who can assign a tailored activity schedule and provide exercises to slowly introduce motion to the pain afflicted region. Over-the-counter pain relievers or codeine may be helpful with relieving initial pain.

    #5. Hamstring injuries

    The hamstrings are a group of three muscles running along the back of your thigh. What some may find surprising is that the hamstring muscles are not used when standing or walking. They are more active during activities such as running and jumping, which require the knees to bend. When they are over-extended, it could result in strains or tears. Kicking your leg out sharply or hurdling are often causes, though poor stretching or warm-ups also often contribute.

    These injuries may be slow to heal because of the stress applied to the injury from walking. Over-the-counter pain relievers or codeine may be helpful in dealing with initial pain. Depending on the severity of the injury, shin splints can take between a couple of weeks to a couple of months to heal. Treat the injury with RICE therapy for a few days. Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises should be undertaken when able.

    Sports and general exercise can be very enjoyable and highly beneficial for your physical and mental well-being, but injuries can occur. For most common injuries, RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate) therapy can help to relieve swelling and soreness for the first few days following an injury. If you are looking for pain relief for moderate injuries, there are options available that can be tailored best for you. Talk to your healthcare provider to make sure you’re following proper treatment. All injuries are different and you may need advice for your specific needs.

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