Sports injuries often mean an unplanned break in the training schedules of competitive and hobby athletes. Yet treating an injured muscle quickly will shorten the recovery period, and using the right preventive steps can reduce the risk of injuries considerably.
Frequent muscle injuries
A bruise is caused when blood vessels surrounding various muscle fibres burst from being squeezed against a bone or joint capsule. The most frequent cause of bruises is getting kicked or hit, or falling.
A pulled muscle, on the other hand, occurs when muscle tissue is excessively strained or stretched, causing it to tear, but without affecting the overall anatomical structure of the muscle. If you ignore the pain from a pulled muscle and continue to strain it, you can end up with a condition called torn muscle fibre, which may affect individual muscle fibres, or the muscle as a whole.
Steps to take
We recommend the following general steps when first treating a sports injury:
Pause – stop training immediately and give the affected body part a rest.
Ice – applying ice will lessen the effects from inflammations or bruises. Important: Never apply ice directly to the skin.
Compression – apply a tight bandage at the right time. This will help to prevent excessive swelling and bleeding, because the pressure will close the vessels and thus prevent more blood from escaping.
Positioning – keep the injured body part still and in a high position, ideally above heart level. This will improve the flow of blood back to the heart and prevent swelling.
If you continue to feel strong pain after administering these first-aid measures, you will need to see a doctor.
How to prevent muscle injuries
Protect your muscles before and after training with these preventive tips:
Warming up: You can reduce the risk of injury considerably by preparing the body for the ensuing strain. For example, you can walk at a relaxed pace for approx. 15 minutes. This will increase the circulation to the tissue and make your body more elastic and resistant to strain.
Stretching: It is important to stretch vigorously after doing sports. This helps to develop the agility of your muscles, tendons and ligaments gradually, which in turn will reduce the risk of injury in the long term.
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