Total Therapy Blog
Rehab from Sports Injuries – Common Questions Answered
Written by Jamie Johnson – Certified Athletic Therapist with Total Therapy
As a therapist who is continually surrounded by young athletes and parents, I often witness the confusion around sports injury rehabilitation. Ice or Heat? When can I play? Can I still go to practice? Here are some of your questions answered.
Heat vs. Ice
When it comes to heat or ice for injuries it is important to pick the right one. However, when acute sports injuries occur it becomes very simple! Ice!
To simplify it, ice is applied to sports injuries that are in active inflammation. This occurs 24-72 hours after a traumatic event, immediately following training or game, or when there is redness, pain, or swelling.
When icing, the best practice is crushed ice (not chemical packs) and it is applied directly on the skin. The sensations that you will go through are cold, burning, aching, and numbness and it takes 15-20 mins to have the benefits occur.
The first 48-72 hours
Common sports injuries include muscle strains, ligament sprains, fractures, cramps, or tendonitis. After a traumatic event the first 72 hours is critical in the healing process. Some symptoms of acute injuries are pain, swelling, bruising, redness, and tenderness. During this time it is critical that athletes follow the ‘PIER’ method of recovery.
Pressure: tensor bandages help control the swelling and limit motion
Ice: this will address pain and inflammation
Elevation: allows healing chemicals and swelling to return back to the body for circulation
Rest: will allow the natural healing process to occur without complications
If ‘PIER’ does not occur, secondary complications are possible and this will ultimately delay return to play.
When can I play?
Unfortunately, I cannot give anyone a straight answer. But there are simple guidelines that can be followed. Follow these three rules!
• Are there signs of inflammation (redness, swelling, pain, decreased function, heat)?
• Do you have full range of motion without pain?
• Do you have 80% strength?
If you cannot determine this on your own, please ask a professional for advice!
Can you still go practice?
Absolutely!!! Every sport has a way that you can participate while protecting your injury. Be creative and ask how you can be an active member of the team! If it is an upper body injury, train your lower body and vise versa. There is always an answer :)
Athletic injuries are common but they should be given respect. If these injuries are ignored there could be functional issues later in life. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (604) 317-7155 to book with me or ask me about your sports injury.