Getting injured while playing a sport is a setback many athletes (and active individuals)may experience. Fortunately, there are effective ways to speed up recovery after a sports injury. Keep reading for five tips for a successful sports injury recovery and where you can go in central Maryland for expert sports medicine treatment.
The PRICE method is an effective way to ensure proper recovery at home. It stands for protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. It is an iteration of the more commonly known RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation), which is usually prescribed for body pain and other injuries.
The only difference between the PRICE method and the RICE method is the addition of the “P” component, or “protection”. This simply emphasizes the importance of supportive devices that protect the injured area, like splints and slings. The PRICE method is recommended for minor strains and sprains that can be treated on your own at home.
Do the following for two to three days:
- Protection: Protect the affected area from further injuryby using taking weight off it or immobilizing it.For instance, use crutches to prevent bearing weight on sprained ankle, and use a sling to protect an injured shoulder.
- Rest: Limit certain activities and give your body a chance to recover. You should stop doing any workouts and exercises until your orthopedic specialist approves you to return to normal activities.
- Ice: Apply a cold compress or an ice pack to the injured area as soon as possible after an injury. Make sure to wrap the ice pack in a towel to protect your skin. Do this for 20 minutes at a time every three to four hours each day.
- Compression: Wrap the affected area with an elastic compression bandage if you’re experiencing inflammation. The compression will alleviate the swelling.
- Elevation: Place the injured body part or area above your heart level while you’re at rest. This is to prevent swelling from getting worse.
Immobilize the Injured Area
Injured body parts can be very delicate and painful during the healing process. Immobilization works to protect the affected area from further injury, as well as aligning bones/joints so they heal properly.
Different types of immobilization aids may be used, depending on the injury. For your arms, shoulders, and wrists, you could be given a sling, cast, or splint. For leg, feet, and ankle injuries, a walking boot, splint, or cast is appropriate.
The length of the immobilization period will vary based on your injury. Sprains take two or more weeks to heal, whereas broken bones take weeks or months depending on the size of the bone and complexity of the fracture.
Use Medication to Manage Pain
For quick relief from pain, aching, and inflammation, you can take over-the-counter painkillers. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin are usually effective for treating pain caused by sports injuries. For more severe pain, you can ask your doctor for a prescription painkiller.
Some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) also come as topical solutions. You can purchase a topical cream and apply it to the affected area to ease severe swelling and pain.
If oral and topical medication don’t work, then your doctor may also recommend a corticosteroid injection. Corticosteroids injections are delivered directly to the affected area to provide stronger pain relief. Note that the effects of corticosteroid injections only last up to six months, but this can be much shorter depending on the part of the body that’s injured. In addition, it is not recommended to exceed four steroid injections per year.
For mild to moderate injuries or to aid recovery after surgery,your orthopedic specialist may prescribe physical therapy. This treatment is extremely helpful for those that experience muscle weakness because of prolonged immobilization.
Physical therapy sessions usually consist of tissueand joint manipulation as well as prescribed exercises. Your physical therapist will create a rehabilitation plan for you that includes stretches and strengthening exercises suited to your needs. These exercises improve your muscle strength, range of motion, and help you regain control of the affected body part.
Accept that Surgery May be Necessary
If the above treatments still don’t relieve your pain or your initial injury is severe, you may need surgery. Surgery is common for injuries to bones, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, as these tissues don’t heal as well as muscles.
Severely broken and fractured bones often require surgery to heal properly. The surgeon may need to install artificial screws, plates, wires, or rods to re-position bones and joints in the proper alignment.
Recovering from a Sports Injury
Fully recovering from a sports injury will take time and diligence, no matter the severity.
For mild injuries, the PRICE method may suffice. Moderate injuries may require the PRICE method as well as medication and corticosteroid injections. More severe injuries might require prolonged immobilization, physiotherapy, and surgery.
Your orthopedic specialist will discuss your options and plan out the best course of treatment for your specific injury.
Expert Sports Injury Treatment in Baltimore MD
The Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland (OACM) offers only the best services for treating sports injuries.
Our team of board-certified orthopedic physicians have treated numerous sports injuries in athletes and active individuals alike. We are proud to offer corrective surgery, pain management treatments, and physical therapy to heal your sports injury as fast and safely as possible.
To make an appointment with us, use our form here or call us at (410) 644-1880 or toll-free at (855) 4MD-BONE.
For physical therapy inquiries, please call (443) 478-4449. Our physical therapy services are only available at our Clarksville, Jessup, and Westminster branches. Check out our website for complete location details. We look forward to getting you back to your active lifestyle pain-free!