What to Do with Injuries while Exercising

English: Johnny Yao, taken in October 2008 Ank...
Know when you need help. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As with any physical activity, there’s tendency for you to hurt yourself, strain a muscle, tear a ligament, sprain an ankle, abrasions or bruises. Exercising without the aid of a personal trainer can sometimes cause injuries that can be easily treated or may need the management of a professional. If you’re an exercise novice, ensure that you have an exercise buddy who can administer first aid at any sign or instance of injury.

What should you do if you experience pain or some swelling while exercising? Try the PRICE method.

1. Protection. If  you got injured, stop the activity and protect the injured part from further damage. Avoid putting weight or pressure to the injured part or avoid moving it further. If you cannot put weight on an ankle or knee, crutches can help you relieve the weight off the injured area. Get help and move to a safe area on the field.

2. Rest. Lessen your daily activities or regular exercise routine as needed. It is important to rest the injured muscle, tendon, ligament or other tissue from further injury . Any more activity of the injured area can hamper its effective healing.

3. Ice. Choose a cold pack, crushed ice or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a thin towel to provide cold compress to the injured area. It can provide short-term pain relief and will also limit the swelling by reducing blood flow to the injured area. Never apply ice directly to the skin and never leave ice on an injury for more than 20 minutes, as longer exposure can damage the skin and may even result to frostbite.

4. Compression. Compress the area of injury by wrapping  the swollen part with a bandage. Doing this will reduce and limit the swelling. Some patients may even experience relief when injured area is compressed. Just ensure that the compression is a little loose to give the injured part enough ventilation.

5. Elevation. Elevating an injury help control swelling. For example, if you have an ankle sprain, try lying on your bed with your foot propped on one or two pillows. Elevations is mostly effective when the injured area is raised above the level of the heart.

Knowing how to initially manage injuries will help prevent further damage, but you can only do as much. In case any of the following occurs, then it may be best to rush to the nearest Emergency Room to seek assistance from medical practitioners:

  • The injured part causes sudden severe pain, swelling or numbness.
  • You can’t tolerate any weight on the affected area or if it feels extremely tender.
  • There is a visible discoloration or break of a bone.
  • The injured area has manifestations of repetitive swelling, joint abnormality or instability.
  • If the injury would cause loss of balance, dizziness, unconsciousness, nausea or vomiting.
  • Don’t take any chances with concussions or head injuries. Seek help from a doctor as soon as you could.

There’s no reason for you to continue exercising if it’s causing you so much pain. Exercising, when done properly is supposed to strengthen your muscles and your resistance.  Ensure that you do it right to avoid injuries.

References:

http://www.yalemedicalgroup.org/stw/Page.asp?PageID=STW001767

http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/rehab/a/rice.htm

http://www.sportsinjuryhandbook.com/injuries/index.html

www.welcoa.org

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