Playing outdoor sports can be great fun and a fantastic way to keep fit that doesn't involve going to the gym! Although it is a good thing to do for health and entertainment, playing outdoor sports can also come with an associated risk of injury.
Common outdoor activities that may lead to injury are soccer, basketball, cricket, football, and running. However, the potential for injury exists with practically every sport — but you shouldn't let that deter you from getting out and having fun!
Protecting Against Injury
Taking the time to warm up properly before you partake in any sporting activity is key to protecting against injury. Taking it easy at first and then building up the intensity of the activity as you go will help to keep your body safe.
Treating Common Sporting Injuries
A good rule for treating common sporting injuries is to first assess how serious the injury is. If you need immediate medical treatment then you should seek professional help as soon as possible.
If you decide that you injury does not require immediate medical attention, then you should turn to PRICE Therapy.
P - Protection – A support or a splint can be used to protect the injured part from further injury. Immobilize the part.
R - Rest – Rest helps in faster recovery of the injured part. Avoiding weight bearing in cases where the leg or the foot is injured.
I - Ice – Apply ice packs immediately to the injured limb for 20-30 minutes every 2-3 hours for next 48 hours.
C - Compression – Wrap the injured limb with an elastic bandage to limit the swelling. Tying the bandage too tight can cut off the circulation to the injured limb leading to more damage and delayed healing.
E - Elevation – Elevate or prop up the injured limb so that it is at a level higher than the heart. This will reduce the bleeding if there is a wound.
In more serious injuries it may be deemed necessary to have a surgical repair, in which case the quicker the diagnosis the better.
If after following the PRICE procedure you notice that your symptoms are worsening, then check in with your doctor as soon as possible.
Mild Sprains & Strains
Sprains can occur when you stretch or tear your ligaments — the tough tissue that connects two bones together. This is most likely to occur in the ankle area.
The majority of mild sprains and strains can be treated at home with the PRICE process. However, if the ligaments are seriously torn then surgery may be required to correct the problem. If your symptoms persist, or you begin to feel numb in the area of the sprain, then it is a good idea to consult your doctor.
Strains are generally more concerned with damage to the muscle, or to the tissue that attaches a muscle to a bone.
If you have a sprain or a strain then you will likely experience pain, swelling, and bruising, as well as limited movement in the affected area.
Tennis elbow is a condition characterised by pain around the elbow. The medical term for this diagnosis is Lateral Epicondylitis.
This condition can develop if you overuse the elbow — especially in a repetetive way over time. When the muscles become strained in this way, it is possible that inflammation will develop just outside of the elbow, contributing to the onset of this condition.
The pain from this condition is most likely to present when you bend your arm or lift the arm to do something. Gripping objects or using your hand to do something can also cause pain.
Fortunately this is a condition that can get better over time without medical intervention. However, to do so it is incredibly important that you rest the affected arm and no longer engage in the activities that are contributing to the problem. Pain medication and anti-inflammatory drugs can aid your recovery from this condition.
Your ribs provide important protection for the internal organs in this part of your body. The ribs are tough to do this job well, but sometimes they can also be damaged through common sporting injuries.
Broken ribs can be extremely painful and can even make it feel difficult to breathe. Furthermore, if your ribs are badly broken then they can also pose a threat to the organs that they are supposed to be protecting!
If you have suffered an impact injury to the chest and think that your ribs are damaged, then consult your doctor immediately. You will be able to get an accurate diagnosis through a physical examination.