How Are Sports Injuries Treated?
Treatment often begins with the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), to reduce swelling. Here are some other things your doctor may do to treat your sports injury.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Your doctor may suggest that you take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin or ibuprofen. These drugs reduce swelling and pain, and you can buy them at any drug store. Another common drug is acetaminophen, which may relieve pain, but does not reduce swelling.
Immobilization is a common treatment for sports injuries. It keeps the injured area from moving and prevents more damage. Slings, splints, casts, and leg immobilizers are used to immobilize sports injuries.
In some cases, surgery is needed to fix sports injuries. Surgery can fix torn tendons and ligaments, or put broken bones back in place. Most sports injuries don’t need surgery.
Rehabilitation is a key part of treatment. It involves step-by-step exercises that get the injured area back to normal. Moving the injured area helps it to heal. The sooner this is done, the better. Exercises start by gently moving the injured body part through a range of motions. The next step is to stretch. After a while, weights may be used to strengthen the injured area.
As injury heals, scar tissue forms. After a while, the scar tissue shrinks. This shrinking brings the injured tissues back together. When this happens, the injured area becomes tight or stiff. This is when you are at greatest risk of injuring the area again. You should stretch the muscles every day, and always stretch as a warmup before you play or exercise.
Don’t play your sport until you are sure you can stretch the injured area without pain, swelling, or stiffness. When you start playing again, start slowly. Build up step by step to full speed.
Although it is good to start moving the injured area as soon as possible, you must also take time to rest after an injury. All injuries need time to heal; proper rest helps the process. Your doctor can guide you on the proper balance between rest and rehabilitation.
If you experience a sports injury call The Brooks Clinic at (405) 943-0303 to request an appointment with one of our pain management specialists, or use our online appointment request form.