Exercise can strengthen the heart and lungs, improve blood circulation, relax your mind, regulate mental stress, burn off calories and help you keep an ideal body weight. If we have little accurate knowledge of exercise and limited awareness of safety measures, we will be vulnerable to injuries.
The following are some common sports injuries and their management:
- Skin abrasions: Skin injuries are commonly caused by abrasions during falls. Infections will easily occur if the wounds are not managed properly.
- Management – For a minor abrasion, flush the wound with water to get rid of the sand or dirt. Then gently apply pressure to the wound using clean gauze to stop bleeding. When bleeding stops, wash the wound with diluted disinfectant and cover it with clean gauze. If the wound is deep or continues to bleed, you should seek medical treatment in an emergency room as soon as practicable.
- Muscle cramps: Muscle cramps are pain caused by sudden involuntary contraction of the muscles. They usually occur when you over-exercise or when you have lost too much water through perspiration.
- Management – When muscle cramps occur, you can reduce the pain by stretching the affected muscles slowly and massaging gently. You can use ice pack to relieve the pain or apply heat to relax the muscles. Also, drink plenty of water.
- Torn cartilage in the knee: The menisci are two rubbery crescent-shaped pieces of cartilage in the knee joint. They stabilise the knee joint and protect the bones from wear and tear. It is common for a meniscus tear to occur when a person rapidly changes directions or suddenly twists his knee while running. The symptoms of a meniscus tear include swelling and pain in the knee. The patient will have a locked knee and find it difficult to bend and straighten his leg. Without proper treatment, the stability of the knee joint will be affected in the future.
- Management – Stop exercising immediately. Elevate the affected area, apply ice pack and gently wrap with elastic bandage to reduce swelling. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
- Ankle sprains: An ankle sprain is a pull or tear of ligaments that protect the lateral and medial sides of the ankle joint. It occurs during running when the foot suddenly twists sideways, resulting in pain and swelling around the ankle joint.
- Management – Stop exercising immediately and rest the affected area. Elevate the affected area, apply ice pack and gently wrap with elastic bandage to reduce swelling. In addition, physiotherapy can speed up the recovery.
To avoid sports injuries, you can follow the methods below:
- Have enough warm-up and stretching before and after exercise. During exercise, increase the intensity step-by-step.
- Pay attention to safety and wear appropriate sports accessories, such as sports shoes and kneepads.
- Learn the proper techniques and postures of the exercise.
- Do not exercise if you feel extremely tired.
- Stop immediately and take a rest if you feel unwell with, for example, dizziness, nausea or shortness of breath during the exercise.
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after the exercise.