Whether you play sports for competition or fitness, you don’t want to be sidelined with an injury. Time away from the game or in forced inactivity is something we all want to avoid. When it comes to sports, the adage ‘prevention is better than cure’ is Number 1 rule for injury prevention no matter what sport you play. When possible, preventing a sport injury is better than having to recover from one. The best way to avoid injuries is to be physically and mentally prepared for your sport.
All sports have a risk of injury. Fortunately, for most of the youth, the benefits of sports participation outweigh the risks. In general, the more contact in a sport, the greater the risk of a traumatic injury. The most frequent types of sports injuries are sprains (injuries to ligaments), strains (injuries to muscles), and stress fractures (injuries to bones). Injury occurs when excessive stress is placed on tendons, joints, bones and muscle.
Take time off: The body is a not a machine and needs to be rested. Plan to have at least one day off per week, and at least one month off per year from training for a particular sport to allow the body to recover.
Wear the right gear: Players should wear appropriate and properly fit protective equipment such as pads (on the neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee and shin), helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups, and eyewear. Young athletes should not assume that protective gear will prevent all injuries while performing more dangerous or risky activities.
Strengthen muscles: Conditioning exercises during practice strengthens muscles used in play.
Increase flexibility: Stretching exercises after games or practice can increase flexibility. Stretching should also be incorporated into a daily fitness plan.
Use the proper technique: This should be reinforced during the playing season.
Take breaks: Rest periods during practice and games can reduce injuries and prevent heat illness.
Do not play through pain: The body speaks to you through pain. While ‘no pain no gain’ may be a great motivator statement, pain is a sign of muscle fatigue that could be natural or through overstrain. Just sit it out for a while to observe if the pain grows or recedes.
Beat the heat: Avoid heat illness by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise or play; decrease or stop practices or competitions during high heat/humidity periods; wear light clothing.
The main role of a Sports Medicine physician is to prevent and heal injuries, along with examining a player’s fitness level before any upcoming game. The role of the doctor may also extend beyond the usual sports related injuries. It can also involve handling illnesses like asthma and physiological issues. Sports Medicine specialists can also work as counselors, consultants, and performance educators.
The first step is learning about how to prevent injuries is following basic injury prevention advice. You will also want to know what to do if you do get hurt — from treating an injury at home to knowing when it’s time to see your doctor.
· Develop a fitness plan that includes cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility. This will help decrease your chance of injury.
· Alternate exercising different muscle groups and exercise every other day.
· Cool down properly after exercise or sports. It should take 2 times as long as your warm-ups.
· Stay hydrated. Drink water to prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
· Stretching exercises can improve the ability of muscles to contract and perform, reducing the risk for injury. Each stretch should start slowly until you reach a point of muscle tension. Stretching should not be painful. Aim to hold each stretch for up to 20 seconds.
· Use the right equipment or gear and wear shoes that provide support and that may correct certain foot problems that can lead to injury.
· Always take your time during strength training and go through the full range of motion with each repetition.
· If you do sustain a sports injury, make sure you participate in adequate rehabilitation before resuming strenuous activity.
If you suffer an acute injury, such as a strain or pulled muscle, immediately stop the activity. Next, use the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method of treatment.
Rest prevents further injury and allows for healing. Ice helps with swelling and pain. Icing an injury constricts blood vessels and limits the bleeding in the injured area. Compression also limits swelling and provides support to an injured joint. Elevation uses gravity to improve swelling by reducing blood flow to the injured area.
You should start using the R.I.C.E. method as soon as possible after an injury occurs. Immediately apply ice to the area, using a sheet or towel to protect your skin. Next, wrap an elastic bandage around the ice and injured area. It should be snug, but you don’t want to wrap it so tightly that it cuts off the blood supply. Leave the ice on for about 15 minutes. You can repeat every three hours throughout the day. Once the swelling decreases, you can start doing gentle range of motion exercises for the affected joint.
Did you know that the Sujok therapy I suggest works just the same as physiotherapy – except, it does not really need anyone other than your own self to administer it. The prescribed protocols are very simple treatment that could be done by the patient if s/he has a basic sujok kit. If Sujok kit is not available, one may try using hairbrush or hard toothbrush.
Treatments based on Su-jok
One who has been reading my articles will surely know as to how to trace these meridians on the front and back side of our hands and feet. Refer to the figures given below and try to find the meridians. These Protocols are based on the research done by the Institute of Acupressure and Holistic Healing, Allahabad, since over two decades.
Treatment: One has to take a Jimmy / Probe or a pencil with its lead point broken and smoothened. Without applying much pressure move the blunt point in the area shown on the skin of fingers and toes. The affected point as shown will be very painful. Stimulate it, by turning it clockwise and anticlockwise for a minute or two. One will generally feel some relief instantly. Paste tiny Byol magnets for about eight hours preferably before sleeping. If the point has an arrow up, please use a magnet with yellow side touching skin and if arrow down then white touches skin. The points are to be stimulated three to four times in daytime and magnets attached at night. Repeat the treatment till the problem is over. Since, we have covered shoulder and elbow, let’s focus on the hand and wrists this week.
General Points: GB 34, Li 4 ↓
1. Finger Injury: Li 1, 2, Si 3, Webs (four points) ↓
(Webs are the four points a half finger back from the web margins)
2. Thumb Injury: Li 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Lu 10, 11, 9, Web ↓
(Points at each end of the joint crease of the thumb, palmer and dorsal surfaces)
3. Hand injury: Si 3, Li 4, Lu 10, P 6, 7, 8, Webs points (four points), knuckle points (three points) ↓ all. The four points a half finger back from the web margins. The three points in the hollow between the hand bones just behind the knuckles. For pain due to injury, focus on pressure point P 5 ↓
Hand blockages due to injury: P 6 ↓,
Sports injury to hand: Li 4, Tw 3, 6, Si 4, P 6 ↓
Redness, swelling & pain in hand: Li 4, 10, 11, H 5, Tw 2, 3, ↓
4. Wrist injury: Li 4, 5, P 6, 7, Tw 4, 5, Lu 9 ↓
Wrist injury on the ulnar joints: Li 4, Tw 4, P 7, H 7 ↓
Following a severe wrist injury, when the ligaments holding the lower ends of the two wrist bones are stretched. This causes weakness and pain on rotating the wrist.
(The Free Press Journal along with the Lions Club of Mumbai ACTION would like to guide people on how to treat self through non-invasive, therapies like Sujok, Ayurvedic Acupressure and Mudra Yoga. This is complementary and will not override the treatment given by doctor. Please share your problems by writing to us at email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also share the problem on WhatsApp at 9323178565.)
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)