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.
- 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 heat stroke.
- 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 healing 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.