Exercises and Sports Injuries

It is inevitable that sooner or later, if you are a regular walker or runner, you are going to have some sort of muscular or skeletal injury. How do you cut down the incidence of such injuries and what do you do if you are unlucky enough to get injured. Here are a few pointers.

How can you prevent muscloskeletal injuries?

  • Begin slowly after any lay off from training. Most of us remember our peak fitness level and expect to perform at that level as soon as we return from an injury. This will place too much stress on our bodies. Be realistic and start slowly
  • More isn't necessarily better
  • Include correct warm up and warm down exercises
  • Include regular stretching specific to your field of expertise
  • Build up your training gradually with a program tailored to your current fitness level
  • Don't play with pain. Pain is a warning sign and should be actioned. Ease off and allow time for the warning pains to ease.

What do you do if you have an injury?

Seek immediate assessment and treatment, especially if you intend to keep training as you may otherwise cause further damage.

For sprains, strains and bruises, start the R.I.C.E program

R Rest to allow the injured tissue to heal and to prevent further damage
I Ice 10-15 minutes hourly. Be careful to place a damp cloth between skin and ice to prevent ice burn
C Compression - a moderately firm elastic bandage will control swelling
E Elevation - elevate the injured part to facilitate drainage and control swelling

and avoid

H Heat in the first 72 hours as this increases bleeding
A Alcohol increases blood flow and swelling
R Running/walking/exercise too soon will cause further damage
M Massage in the first 24 hours as this increases swelling and bleeding

So many people make the mistake of applying ice only once or twice and then swapping to massage and heat. This is not correct. Next time you have a sore spot and experience inflammation, you should ice the injured area as soon as possible. But you should follow this up by continuing to ice the effected area at 15 minute sessions several times a day until the pain and swelling have subsided. This process can take anything up to 2 days to occur. Once this occurs, you can switch to heat therapy which will help speed up the recovery process by bringing more blood to the effected area. But do not be too quick to swap from ice to heat.