Getting stuck into sports can be a great way to keep fit, but each time you take to the tennis court, showcase your squash skills or brave the elements on your bike, you risk suffering an injury. The fact is, virtually all forms of exercise are associated with some level of danger.
The good news is, with the right medical supplies from Steroplast or other specialist providers, many sporting injuries are easy to treat. Here’s a rundown of four of the most common sports-related afflictions - along with some straightforward and effective treatments.
Sprains and strains
Sprains and strains are the nemesis of sportsmen and women around the world. A sprain involves a stretching, twisting or tearing of a ligament and it usually happens as a result of too much force being applied to a joint. Strains, on the other hand, describe a tearing or stretching of muscle tissue. These injuries tend to happen when muscles have been stretched beyond their limits, or when they are forced to contract too quickly.
Although they may be painful and debilitating, most sprains and strains can be treated at home using so-called PRICE therapy. This stands for:
- Protection - keeping the affected area free from further damage using a support
- Rest - ceasing the activity that caused the injury for 48 to 72 hours
- Ice - applying ice to the area for periods of 15 to 20 minutes on a regular basis for the first two to three days.
- Compression - compressing the area using a bandage to limit movement and swelling
- Elevation - raising the affected limb and supporting it using a pillow
Blisters are also bad news. These small pockets of fluid in the outer layers of the skin can be caused by friction and they are most common on the feet. Most of these injuries heal naturally, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t painful while they last. Even though it might seem tempting, don’t pierce your blisters. The unbroken skin that covers them offers a natural barrier to infection. Instead, cover the affected area with a plaster or dressing.
If your blister has already burst, allow the fluid to drain and then cover the area with a dry, sterile dressing until it heals. While the skin is recovering, try not to wear the shoes that caused the blisters.
As its name suggests, tennis elbow is a particular risk for people who play tennis or other racket sports. Clinically known as epicondylitis, it is caused by an overstretching of the muscles that move the elbow, wrist and fingers. Unfortunately, it can take months or even over a year to fully recover from this type of injury.
However, by making sure you rest your arm and avoid the activity that caused the damage, you can speed the healing process up. Using a cold compress on the affected area for a few minutes several times a day can also help.
Cuts and grazes
Even the most surefooted of sports people can take a tumble from time to time, and often this leads to cuts and grazes. Unless stitches are needed, it’s easy to treat these injuries yourself. Typically, all you need to do is clean the area carefully before applying a plaster. If you are bleeding heavily, make sure you stop the flow of blood before you don a dressing. You can do this using a towel or bandage. Elevating the affected area can help to stem any bleeding too.
Although it can be easy to treat sports injuries like these, bear in mind that if your case is particularly bad, you will need to seek professional medical help.