People are becoming gradually aware of the importance of a balanced diet and exercise. Although sports are a healthy aspect of our lives, it is increasingly evident that sports can also be hazardous if we incur injuries.
“Unfortunately, sport injuries are common amongst those who are involved in sports,” says R.Shanti, senior physiotherapist at Yayasan Kebajikan SSL Strok. Not only that, treating sport injuries is costly and time-consuming.
Nonetheless, with proper precautions, it is possible to keep sport injuries at bay, whether in elite or recreational sports. Here are 7 easy steps to p.r.e.v.e.n.t sport injuries.
P-R-E-V-E-N-T SPORTS INJURIES
PROPER warming up and cooling down stretching routines improves blood circulation and flexibility, preventing sports injuries such as muscle strain.
REGULAR workouts help maintain proper strength and flexibility of the muscle, which prevent injuries caused by sudden spurts of strenuous exercise or training.
EQUIPMENT and protective gear such as protective eyewear or helmet are important as safety measures especially in contact sports. It is essential to ensure that the equipment fits well.
VISIT a doctor before engaging in any sporting activity. It is vital to know your body condition and your doctor can help you identify the type of activity that is appropriate for you.
EXCESSIVE training or strenuous sports is to be avoided. Pushing your body beyond what is acceptable often result in torn ligaments and muscle strains.
NEVER continue a sporting activity if injured. Pain is a message sent by our body informing us to stop. If an injury occurs, stop your exercise routine immediately to avoid further harm.
TRAINER or coach is present during activity. Having a professional trainer or coach during training will help ensure that correct techniques are used.
Other precautions to include: Wearing proper footwear such as good shock absorbent and grip; avoiding hard or turf surfaces and paying extra care when engaging in contact or extreme sports such as martial arts, rugby or football.
TREATING SPORTS INJURIES
The reality is that sport injuries do occur, often due to ignorance and poor knowledge of the body. There are several ways in treating sport injuries depending on the severity of the injury. Treatments include RICE therapy, physiotherapy, massage, interferential therapy, ultrasound therapy and rehabilitation.
RICE therapy is a method which can be used to treat minor sport injuries such as a mild sprain. Shanti explains this simple four step therapy which can be done in your own home.
R-Rest the injured area of the body
I-Ice therapy to be applied over the injured area
C-Compression by wrapping a bandage over the injured area
E- Elevation; lifting the injured area above chest level.
Note: RICE Therapy can be useful for most minor sports injuries. However, some injuries may require additional treatment. If your symptoms worsen after 48 hours, you are advised to seek medical attention.
INTERFERENTIAL THERAPY (IFT)
Interferential therapy helps in reducing pain, swelling and speeds up the healing process. IFT uses mid-frequency electric signals to treat the injured area.
Ultrasound therapy works in a similar way to massage. This therapy helps by stimulating blood flow to the injured area.
Preventing sports injuries is possible. All you need is to know your body well, its capabilities and endurance level, practice proper techniques and also to be alert to any pain or discomfort that occurs during or after an activity.