Stretching helps in the recovery of sports injuries

Knowing How Exercise Can Help With Sports Injuries Is Important

Knowing how exercise can help with sports injuries is very important, because this knowledge will have a great deal to do with successful rehabilitation and recovery. Injuries from sports activities happen at all ages and the recovery process is similar at all points, except at the higher levels, the stakes can be higher.

The first order of business is to always seek qualified medical help to be sure that the injury is treated properly in order to prevent more damage. The immediate treatment that will be appropriate in 99% of the sports injuries, is to apply an ice pack for 20 minutes at a time. The ice can be removed for 5 minutes or so, and then reapplied. This can go on for the first day or two, unless a cast is applied to the area.

The first thing that happens in any sports injury, or any other injury for that matter, is that the area will swell and become inflamed. The body reacts in this way to simply protect itself and provide a means to carry out inflammation and revitalize the area over time. The ice helps to control the inflammation and the swelling, plus most doctors will tell you to take aspirin or ibuprofen, which are anti-inflammatory agents.

From a mechanical standpoint, the degree and the extent of the injury is going to determine how quickly you will be able to start any exercising and rehabilitation. The injury is going to have be in the healing process to the extent that the inflammation and swelling is down enough for any movement to be initiated. The way that an injury heals is that once the inflammation subsides, scar tissue begins to form and then begins to shrink, in order to bring the tissues together. As it shrinks, this is why a tightness begins to develop.

This is when a mild form of exercise, stretching and rehabilitation needs to happen, to loosen up the scar tissue. The intensity of the exercises is increased gradually until normal function is restored to playing ability. This takes a lot of time and effort and should not be rushed. The key is repetitive movement and stretching, light at first, leading up to more intensive exercise as the process goes forward.

Using an example of an ankle injury, such as a sprained ankle, which is fairly common in running sports such as football, basketball, and baseball where the ankle has undue stress put upon it from and odd angle, causing the sprain. The ankle will usually swell immediately, which causes pain, and must be wrapped, and elevated to cause the swelling to decrease. The application of ice as soon as possible is recommended to help reduce swelling.

The normal course of events will then be to begin to move the ankle and cause some motion as soon as possible after the swelling begins to subside, even though it will be a very slight movement. This will encourage the body to begin to get rid of the material that has gone to the area in the swelling process. As swelling decreases more, then a step-by-step program of rehabilitation can be instituted in order to gain stability and strength in the area.

This is not an instant process, by any means, because it needs to be remembered that many repetitious less strenuous exercises and stretching procedures will lead to more rigorous steps as the process continues.

For example, the initial exercises will consist of slowly moving the ankle up and down, and back and forth on a limited. As flexibility and strength in the ankle area increases, then walking, toe raises and lifting the ankle with weights on the front of the foot can gain more strength for the area.

Actually knowing how exercise can help with sports injuries is actually very helpful in a person’s response and dedication to the end result of how that injury can heal and once again function normally. If a person has a sense of what to expect, it is easier from a commitment standpoint, to be able to follow through and continue with the rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation exercises are not easy. They can be difficult and painful, because of the body’s defense mechanisms keep the area tight and stiff to initially protect the area. But in order for the area to become as functional as before, there has to be more flexibility created than the body wants to give. The scar tissue has to be broken down and muscle tone built back up to its original, or better than original tone.

This is why, in many cases, the use of a physical therapist, or the team trainer, or someone else to whom the injury victim can be accountable to works well in the rehab process. If left on our own, it is a lot easier to loaf a little bit here and there, and not achieve maximum results.

Image credit: Health 365

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