It is important to note that muscle injuries can cause discomfort and can easily put an individual out of a game or practice. Regardless of the sport being played and how the individual was injured, the treatment and time frame it requires to heal from an acute sports injury are often the same.
Injuries to the muscles can be caused by abrupt stretching of a muscle beyond its normal range. This can occur while playing sports or working in the garden. Luckily, you can easily manage minor tendon, ligament or muscle injuries. If you want to be prepared to handle these injuries, you can enroll in a first aid class today.
Right after an injury
There are considerations to bear in mind within the initial hours of an injury and measures to perform to hasten the healing process. Aside from the immediate pain, the individual can also experience bruising and swelling. The initial piercing pain will give way to a throbbing ache and the area is sensitive to movement and tender to the touch. The recommended treatment option is no other than the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation).
- Rest is the most effective way to promote the healing process after an acute sports injury. Remember that the affected muscle is weak and vulnerable to further injury particularly in the first few hours.
- The application of ice is vital within the first 1-2 days after the injury. This will help relieve the pain as well as prevent swelling by reducing the blood flow to the area. Apply ice for 15-20 minutes at a time and allow the skin to return to its normal temperature in between the applications.
- You can provide compression by using an elastic bandage that is wrapped firmly on the affected area to prevent swelling and ease the pain by keeping it immobilized. Once tingling or numbness in the extremity occurs, the bandage should be removed and wrap again loosely.
- Elevate the affected area higher than the level of the heart to drain fluids away from the area and reduce the swelling.
One day after
The day after sustaining the injury is often the most agonizing. The swelling is at its worst a few hours to a number of days after the injury. The bruising can persist for the first few hours and can be severe the next day in which the area turns deep purple or black in appearance.
The RICE method is suitable for the initial 48-72 hours after the injury. Remember not to apply heat on the affected area during the first 3 days since it will increase circulation, thus aggravating the swelling.
A week later
An acute sports injury typically enters the healing phase after about 72 hours. There is reduced pain and tenderness that is only felt when the joint is moved. The swelling typically subsides after the first three days and the bruises start to fade.
Once the swelling has reduced, it is time to alternate heat packs with ice. The application of heat will promote the circulation of blood which delivers oxygen and nutrients to hasten the healing process. It is also time to move the injured area or walk in a normal gait as soon as possible after the injury.