Sprains are tears to the ligaments that join the ends of bones together. The ankles, knees, and wrists are commonly affected by sprains. Strains are pulls or tears of muscles or tendons (the tissues that attach the muscles to the bones). Acute injuries usually occur suddenly while participating in sports or exercise.
They may result in sudden and severe pain, the inability to bear weight on a limb, or the inability to move the affected part of the body. Chronic injuries usually result from overuse of one area of the body over time. Symptoms of chronic injuries include soreness, dull aching pain, and pain during participation in physical activity.
If you have a sports injury, the first thing to do is to prevent further injury or damage and to stop or reduce swelling. When soft tissue is damaged, it swells or possibly bleeds internally.
This swelling causes pain and loss of motion, which limits use of muscles. The primary conservative treatment for soft tissue injuries includes the acronym P.R.I.C.E or Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. This is important for the first 24-48 hours, depending on the severity of the injury. Each will be explained in more detail.
Protection is critical to reducing injuries from becoming more serious not only from the sport, but from daily activities that can be a greater stressor to the injured body part. The type of protection used varies depending the injured area but may include an ace bandage, aluminum splint, sling, protective tape, or brace.
Rest is necessary to allow the body’s own healing processes to naturally occur without being impeded by movement of the injured area.
During the rest phase, our bodies repair the damage from participation, training, and conditioning so that we can recover. If we don’t rest the injured area, further breakdown occurs, leading to a more serious injury.
Ice is the most important step to reduce swelling, in addition to the analgesic effect of the cold. This should be done for 20 minutes at a time and then removed and repeated for at least 24-72 hours post-injury.
The most common is an ice pack because it can conform to the contours of the injured area. Make sure the ice is not directly on the skin (use a paper towel or cloth to reduce overcooling or frost on the skin surface).
Compression is important for reducing edema from the inflammatory response, which can lead to further damage of tissues as a result of continued stretching and tearing.
Compression can be done by use of an elastic bandages or Kinesio Tape (applied only by a Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner). Kinesio tape is beneficial in many ways for muscle, tendon, and ligament injuries by producing deep oscillations which aid in quicker recovery.
Elevation is the final concept to aid in reducing swelling to help heal faster. By elevating the body part above the level of the heart, you aide in drainage of fluids from the inflamed tissues and reduce the damage from overloading damaged tissues.
Following the PRICE principles is an effective way to minimize the swelling to an injured area so that you can return to activity quickly. If you suspect that you have suffered a sports injury, it is critical to seek the urgent consultation of a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician.
Jerrilynn Primeaux, DC, CCSP, CKTP is a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician with advanced training in sports injury treatment and rehabilitation. She is also a Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner, as well as a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer.
She owns Advanced Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Clinic in Lafayette and operates the Snap Fitness, which is located in the same suite as her clinic.
For more information about sports injuries or memberships at Snap Fitness in Lafayette, please call 337-456-7983. For memberships at Snap Fitness in Abbeville, please call 337-893-0009.