Rest and recovery are important for all athletes whether they are injured or not. The reason being that rest gives your body time to repair any damaged tissue, as well as giving you time to replenish your energy stores and be able and ready to exercise again in the future. Rest is however, particularly important when injured, as it stops you from irritating your injury further and prolongs your inactivity period where you are unable to exercise.
If you are one of those athletes that refuses to take a break even when you have an injury, it is time to listen to an expert. Rob, our local Physio from South Melbourne has kindly provided information on what you should do after an injury and explains why these treatments are so important.
Generally speaking common sports injuries tend to be strains and sprains. A simple way to care for these injuries yourself is to remember RICE, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
R = Rest
I = Ice
C = Compression
E = Elevation
Step One Rest:
Rest is crucial to recovery, as pain is a way for your body to tell your brain that it needs time to recover. Putting unnecessary pressure on your injury will only look to increase the pain and potentially damage it further.
Repetitive strain injuries are recurring injuries which never fully heel due to overuse. These injuries are slower to heal, and can take up to a couple of consecutive months to repair completely, therefore if you want to fully recover all experts recommend rest. If you really can’t rest until you’re completely healed, at least try to keep off of your injury for the first two days. The first 48 hours are the most important.
Step Two Ice:
Ice will help reduce the pain and also the swelling of your injury. Rob suggests using an ice pack when available, but says that if an ice pack isn’t available using loose ice a tea towel will also allow ice and pressure to be applied to the injury. Ice can be painful when applied directly to the skin, therefore try to remove it every 10-15 minutes, but continue to repeat across the course of the next few days.
Step Three Compression:
Compression aims to prevent your injury from swelling. Medical bandages are great for this step because they can be applied tightly but they also have a bit of give in them so they generally don’t become too tight for the wearer. However if you think the bandage applied is too tight, these medical bandages can be removed and reapplied really easily.
Step Four Elevation:
Like the picture displays, elevation of your injury is the final component but just as crucial as the three before it. Elevation helps to reduce the likelihood of bruising as it slows down blood looking to rush towards the injury. It can also help to reduce any throbbing as well as pain for this same reason. Ideally the first two days should try to incorporate elevation wherever possible.
Self treatment is suggested for low risk injuries and if swelling hasn’t reduced naturally it is best to seek professional advice. A professional will be able to provide you with an individual assessment of the injury and advise your best course of treatment. If your injury doesn’t improve in the suggested time period or after following the above steps for the first few days, we suggest that you seek professional advice from your local general practitioner (GP) or from a sports physiotherapist.
Have you used the RICE method to recovery from injury?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.
“PIN & SHARE”