Treatment for a sports injury depends on which body part is affected and the severity of the injury.
Treatment and management include the following measures.
- PRICE therapy: Mild sprains and strains can be treated with PRICE therapy for two to three days. It stands for protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
- Protection – protecting the affected area by using a support
- Rest – limit physical activity and avoid exercise. Using a walking stick, crutches or a sling.
- Ice – applying an ice pack to the affected area for every 15 minutes
- Compression – use of elastic compression bandages during daytime
- Elevation – raise the injured part above the heart level
- Pain relief: Painkillers, such as paracetamol help ease the pain. NSAIDs and ibuprofen or ointments ease pain and reduce swelling.
- Immobilization: It will prevent further damage by reducing movement. It can also reduce pain, muscle swelling, and muscle spasm. Slings, splints, and casts are used to immobilize injured arms, shoulders, wrists and legs while you heal.
- Physiotherapy: It’s a specialist treatment where techniques such as massage, manipulation and exercises are used to improve range of motion, strengthen the surrounding muscles, and return the normal function of the injured area. A physiotherapist can also develop an exercise program to help strengthen the affected body part and reduce the risk of the injury recurring.
- Corticosteroid injections: They are recommended if you have severe or persistent inflammation. It can help relieve pain caused by your injury, although for some people the pain relief is minimal or only lasts for a short period of time. If necessary, a corticosteroid injection can be repeated, but you’ll usually only be able to have two or three injections a year.
- Surgery and procedures: Most sports injuries don’t require surgery, but very severe injuries such as badly broken bones may require corrective treatment. This may include a manipulation or surgery to fix the bones with wires, plates, screws or rods. In some cases, it may be possible to realign displaced bones without needing an operation. Certain other injuries may also occasionally require surgery.
Depending on the type of injury you have, it can take a few weeks to a few months or more to make a full recovery.
- Aim to gently start moving the injured body part as soon as possible.
- Do not return to the activity until fully recovered.
- Gentle exercises help to improve the area’s range of movement. As movement becomes easier and the pain decreases, stretching and strengthening exercises can be done.