Strains, sprains and general aches and pains are a part of every sport; however, when left untreated and ignored, more severe injuries may form. It is important that, from a young age, sportsmen are familiar with the correct methods of healing for a good sports season.
We are lucky enough to have former Sharks and Lions physiotherapist, Ruan Fourie, as one of our Academy’s founders. Ruan owns his own practice, Spot On Treatment Centre, and dedicates his spare time to providing theoretical training to our players so that they are equipped with the tools to manage their nutrition and injury prevention and treatment effectively.
MUSCULOSKELATAL INJURIES DEFINED
Musculoskeletal injuries refer to damage done on the body’s movement system. Included in this system are the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels. Common causes for these types of injuries are varied – ranging from repetitive stress, poor posture, great force and a lack of proper stretching. Regardless of the cause, there is one simple treatment that should always be the first point of call to treat anything that hurts when in movement.
IMPLEMENT RICE THERAPY
- There’s always a risk of reinjuring the affected area which is why rest is so important. Rest means not overworking the area with activity that exerts force or stress. On the other hand, inactivity is also a bad thing for injuries – resulting in a decrease in the strength and mobility of soft tissues and an increase in swelling. The key is to use common sense – if you’ve sprained your ankle, don’t go sprinting 100m to score, rather take a break from sport and go for a brisk walk to keep up your strength and fitness.
- Often the first logical treatment that people think about is to ice the affected area but many don’t fully understand why. The most common notion is that ice numbs the affected area; which is correct but it also has other functions. Ice also reduces muscle spasms and constricts the blood vessels; restricting the amount of fluid that is able to flush into the tissue around the injury which prevents inflammation.
- Use a bandage or sports tape to compress the area so that the joint’s movement is restricted and protected. Compression helps to reduce swelling in much the same way as ice does. It is important to remember; however, that if compressed too tight the area could have very poor blood circulation and pain may result.
- Gravity is your best friend when injured; it drains excess fluid from the tissue back into your main bloodstream; reducing swelling, pain and speeding up recovery by transporting cellular “waste” to the heart. Make sure that the injured area is elevated above the level of the heart.
Next time you are injured, follow these simple steps and you will be back playing the sport you love in no time. Remember that patience during this process is key and, when rushed, the injured area may take even longer to heal; leaving you out of your sport for excessive periods of time. Should you struggle to recover and the pain persists, be sure to visit a registered physiotherapist, like Ruan Fourie, to seek further assistance in your recovery process.