Recovering After a Sports Injury

You were playing basketball when your foot went one direction and the rest of your body went another. You know you’ve injured your ankle, but what now?

Saint Francis Outpatient Physical Therapy has some tips on how to handle a sports injury.

First, let’s talk about three of the most common sport injuries.

  • Sprain—When a sprain occurs, you’ve either stretched or torn a ligament.
  • Strain—When a strain occurs, you’ve stretched or torn a muscle or tendon.
  • Fracture—A fracture is a broken or cracked bone.

If you have a sprain or strain, you’ll likely experience pain and swelling. With a sprain, you will also likely see bruising, while with a strain, you may experience muscle spasms.

With a fracture, you may experience an inability to move the injured body part, a misshapen look to the injured area or a bone sticking through the skin, and numbness or blue coloration in the extremities.

What to Do

With any injury, you should seek urgent medical attention for a diagnosis and treatment. Your treatment plan will depend on the type and severity of your injury.

If you have a mild or moderate sprain or strain, you may experience relief from following the RICE protocol. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons defines RICE as:

  • Rest the affected area. If you’ve injured your legs or feet, you may want to avoid bearing weight.
  • Apply ice to the area for 20 minutes at a time a few times a day.
  • Use a compression bandage to reduce swelling.
  • Elevate the injury higher than your heart while resting.

If your injury does not improve with self-care, worsens, or you are unable to bear weight, seek medical attention.

Treatment following an injury needs to consider both your physical and mental needs. To help you recover, your doctor may prescribe a combination of therapies, often including physical therapy. It’s important to adhere to a physical therapy regimen if one is prescribed, since doing so will ensure a full recovery and help you avoid further injury.

If you’re particularly active, you may find yourself upset with the prospect of being sedentary or detached from your routine. Pay particular attention to your emotions—and be patient with yourself as you recover.

Looking for a physical therapist to get you on the path to recovery following a sports injury? Call the Saint Francis Outpatient Physical Therapy Program at 302.575.8250.

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