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Sports Injuries: When Healthy Habits Become Harmful



Sports injuries are often caused by high impact activities, overuse, and falls. Common sports injuries include:

  • Sprained ankles result in pain and inflammation.
  • Bruises are caused by a fall or impact resulting in bleeding under the skin.
  • Cuts and abrasions may be caused by falls and scrapes. The hands, knees, and elbows are most often affected.
  • A concussion is a knock to the head that may or may not be associated with loss of consciousness. Common symptoms are vomiting, dizziness, pain, and short-term memory loss.
  • Hamstring strain causes pain, inflammation, and restricted movement.
  • Dehydration is common when you don’t drink enough water while you’re exercising. In warmer weather, it can lead to heatstroke.
  • Dental damage can result from a knock to the jaw or a fall.
  • Stress fractures are most common in the lower limbs and are caused by repetitive high impact activity.
  • Knee injuries are very common, causing pain and inflammation. The connective tissue may also be affected.
  • Nose bleeds and fractures are caused by a blow to the face.

How to treat sports injuries

If you are in a lot of pain, are bleeding excessively, or have received a blow to the head, please seek urgent medical attention. For minor injuries, ensure you have an up-to-date first-aid kit within easy reach. See your pharmacy for more specific hearing aids.

  • For strains and sprains, ankle, knee, wrist, elbow, and back support products are available. Sports tape and bandages may also help.
  • For bruises, try arnica cream. It will speed up the healing process.
  • For cuts and abrasions, ensure that your first aid kit contains adhesive plasters in a variety of shapes and sizes.
  • Always have cold packs in your freezer.
  • You may need anti-inflammatory medication for the first few days. Pain-relieving creams are also available. Ask your pharmacist for advice. If pain persists, see your doctor.
  • Keep an electrolyte supplement close by when you’re exercising, particularly in warmer weather.

What you should know

It’s a good idea to have a first-aid certificate – you can help yourself and others. At the very least, you should know how to apply the RICE rule as soon as an injury occurs:

  • Rest from all activity for at least 24-48 hours. You will also need to treat the injury appropriately.
  • Ice the inflamed or bruised area for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. Ensure that you wrap the cold pack or bag of frozen peas in a cloth. Never apply heat to an acute injury.
  • Compression: Wrap the inflamed area firmly with an elastic bandage as this will help support the joint and reduce inflammation. Don’t wrap it too tightly!
  • Elevation: Try to keep the area elevated above heart level.

If you’re in a lot of pain, see your doctor. You may have an undiagnosed fractured tendon or ligament damage. Do not take pain-relieving medication for prolonged periods.