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How to treat a sports injury immediately when it happens?

While playing sports, accidents happen suddenly, causing minor to major injuries. While prevention strategies can limit injuries and their severity, an unexpected collision when you make a wrong step on the field might result in serious and painful injuries. Therefore, be prepared to take action as soon as possible when this happens. Ideally, a well-stocked first aid kit is readily available for a sportsperson; if not, seek medical help immediately. 

Most sports-related injuries result from overuse, direct impact, or applied force that exceeds the body part’s structural capacity. 

Different forms of sports injuries

While playing sports, people may experience a variety of injuries. They may be categorized as acute or chronic. Therefore, it would be wise for any sportsperson to learn how to treat some common sports injuries.

Acute sports injuries – These are the injuries that happen suddenly.

Chronic sports injuries – These injuries develop over a long period and are known as overuse injuries.

As chronic injuries develop over time, finding the right medical treatment to fix them becomes easier. For instance, if you feel pain in your shoulder while playing your sport or exercising, you can consult a shoulder specialist for treatment or a physical therapist.

But in the case of acute injuries, they usually need first aid— a form of emergency treatment given until medical assistance arrives. When you play sports, particularly those with the potential to cause acute injuries, like football, wrestling etc., it is very important to know how to administer first aid. It is also important to have supplied with you such as ice packs, wound dressings, splints, alcohol wipes, and a breathing barrier to perform CPR.

Acute sports injuries first aid 

The common acute injuries related to sports are varied by age. For instance, young athletes are more prone to fractures and dislocations. A concussion is also more likely seen in young athletes, especially in certain sports like football, hockey, and wrestling (for males) and soccer, volleyball and basketball (for females).

Various government statistics indicate that the following are the most common acute sports injuries:

  • Shoulder Dislocations
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Knee injuries
  • Fractures
  • Muscle strains & strains

First aid for sports injuries is primarily designed to stop the pain and minimize further damage. While you wait for medical assistance, you may need to focus on managing some symptoms. The following symptoms are common when you have an acute injury:

  • Visibly misaligned bone or joint
  • Blood loss in case of cuts and abrasions
  • Weakness in legs or arms to an extreme
  • Instability or having difficulty moving a joint
  • Unable to bear weight on a knee, ankle, or foot
  • Suddenly experiencing pain and swelling

When you or someone close to you is injured during a sport or fitness activity, the first thing to do is stop the activity. Then, be sure it is safe to enter the scene before helping someone in an emergency and then call for an ambulance. Then, depending on the type of injury, you may recommend different first options.

First aid for sprains, strains and joint injuries

First aid treatment suggestions for sprains, strains and joint injuries and to avoid further damage are:

  • Rest – avoid using the injured area for a minimum of 48-72 hours and keep it supported.
  • Ice – swelling can be reduced by applying ice to the injured area.
  • Compression – wrap an elastic bandage around the injured area from top to bottom.
  • Elevation – Ensure the injured area is always elevated above the heart level.
  • See your doctor immediately.
  • Don’t apply heat; it will aggravate bleeding.
  • Avoid alcohol, as it will increase bleeding and swelling.
  • No physical activities because it increases blood flow and delays healing.
  • Massages are not recommended because it prolongs healing by causing swelling and bleeding.

Treatment for Chronic Sports Injuries

Acute sports injuries may be the most dramatic, but most sports injuries develop over time. The symptoms of overuse injuries tend to be vague and develop gradually. It starts with small, nagging pain. If it is not recognized and treated early, it can become debilitating.

Treatment for overuse injuries involves resting, taking a break or reducing the intensity and duration of playing sports and exercises. You can also ice an overuse injury to ease pain, inflammation, and discomfort. But in the case of severe overuse injuries, physical therapy, medications or surgery may be necessary. 

It is important to treat injuries right away, so it is important to know some first aid methods so that you can react appropriately in an emergency. If you are unsure how severe your sports-related injury is, be prudent and look for medical care. 

It is wise to exercise caution when dealing with a manageable condition to prevent it from getting out of control.

Dr. Chandra Sekhar has more than 15 years of experience in providing sports injury treatment in Hyderabad. He has helped hundreds of patients by treating various sports injuries. To consult the doctor, call +91 99595 88389 and book an appointment,

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