Playing sports is practically impossible without injuring yourself at some point of time. Some common indoor sports injuries include straining or spraining the ankle, hallux rigidus (the great toe joint can become rigid and cause severe pain), ruptured tendons or ligaments, tennis elbow, traumatic fractures, heel pain, Achilles tendon injuries, etc. Sports like basketball, bowling, badminton, squash, ice hockey, and figure skating are prone to produce injuries.
Treatment will depend on how severe the injury is and the part of the body affected. If an injury is not very severe, it can be treated at home using PRICE therapy.
PRICE stands for Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
- Protection – protect the injured part from further injury – for example, by using a support, a splint, pad, or a crutch.
- Rest – Resting the injured area and restricting its regular activity. Avoiding weight bearing in case of any ankle injury.
- Ice – Immediately applying an ice pack to the injured part for about 20-30 minutes will act as anti-inflammatory. Repeat the ice application every 2 to 3 hours for the next 48 hours.
- Compression - An elastic bandage should be wrapped around the injured part to limit the swelling. Do not tie the bandage too tight as it can cut off the circulation to that part causing further reduction of the blood flow.
- Elevation - Elevate the injured part so that it is at a level higher than the heart. One can prop up his or her legs on a pillow.
PRICE therapy can be used for injuries of the feet, ankle, knees, thighs, hands and elbows.
Other ways to treat indoor sports injuries are with medications like painkillers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), to reduce the pain. Immobilising the injured part using a sling, splint or cast can prevent further damage. This tends to reduce pain, swelling and muscle spasms. If there is severe or persistent inflammation, a corticosteroid injection might be needed, but your orthopaedic physician will be the best person to make this decision.
Physiotherapy involves special exercises and manipulations to improve the range of motion and strengthen the muscles. It helps to bring back the normal function of injured part. Physiotherapy is often necessary even in minor injuries like sprains as muscle strength cannot be compromised on.
Heat therapy is aimed to stimulate the blood flow to the affected part and speed up the healing process. Ultrasound therapy helps in increasing the metabolic activities of cells thus aiding tissue repair, especially in soft tissue injuries like pulled muscles, and torn ligaments.
If the injury is severe or continues to hurt longer than a few days, could it need immediate attention from an expert orthopedic physician such as Dr. Hayden. A ‘closed reduction’ non-surgical technique can help realign certain broken bones but surgery is often needed in injuries involving badly broken bones or severely torn ligaments. If a broken bone is fixed using wires, plates, screws or rods and is known as ‘open reduction and internal fixation’.
Penned by Dr. Rachita Narsaria