Sports injury? – the road to successful recovery

If you are unfortunate to get a sports injury, it is important that you tackle recovery in the right way from day one.Read here how you get off to a good start on the road to a swift recovery – and prevent recurrence and new injuries.

In many cases, sports injuries are due to strain as a result of incorrect or excessive training. Other injuries are sprains, muscle tears, etc.
Anyone can get a sports injury – even if you are in good shape. Switching to a new discipline that puts a different type of strain on your muscles and ligaments than the sport you previously engaged in presents a greater risk of injury.
Many sports injuries are due to inadequate warm-ups.
Injuries occur when you increase the strain on your body, exercise more intensively than you are used to or by a sudden jolt or twisting. It is also important to consider whether an injury could have been caused by poor equipment (e.g. shoes), inadequate support or incorrect technique.

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How to deal with a sports injury

If you get a sport injury, you have to take it easy. Do not try to get back too soon. Sprains and injuries to the muscles and bones can become much more serious if you continue to engage in physical sports activities. If you only have a graze or scratch, this can be bandaged and you can carry on playing your sport.

Most sports injuries can safely be treated at home. Follow the RICE principle:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

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However, if the pain does not subside within a few days, you should see your doctor and get a thorough appraisal of the injury.
If there is severe pain and swelling immediately after the injury, you are advised to seek medical attention to establish that there is no serious damage to the joint, bone or ligament. If you hear a snap or crack, it is important that you receive medical attention immediately.Injuries of the joints, bones and muscles are examined by taking X-rays, or a CT, MRI or ultrasound scan.

Many sports injuries require a rehabilitation period – to restore the strength and stability of muscles and joint once the injury itself has healed.

If you are exposed repeatedly to the same injury, you may have to stop playing your sport altogether. Damaged tissue is often a little weaker when it has healed and there is therefore a greater risk of a new injury of the same kind. Following an injury, there is an increased risk of subsequently developing osteoarthritis.
If you combine rest with sensible rehabilitation, you can strengthen the injured joint, muscle or bone.

This means that an injury, e.g. to a muscle, tendon, ligament or bone should be rested but you must also do exercises to strengthen the affected tissue so that it becomes stronger than before the injury occurred. You may have to face the fact that rehabilitation takes up more time than you spent training before the injury occurred.

For best results, consult with your physiotherapist, doctor or specialist. Your rehabilitation programme should combine the following:

  • Fitness training (cardio)
  • Strength and suppleness training
  • Specific exercises that focus on the injured part of the body

As a very general rule of thumb, you can expect the following time line for a rehabilitation programme:

1: 4 weeks of training to improve muscle strength
2: 4 months of training to improve bone strength
3: 8 months of training to improve tendon and ligament strength.

If you have a strain injury, tenderness will often develop several hours after the strain itself, i.e. not until the evening or next morning. Do not ignore this! It is an important signal that the tissue has been exposed to more strain than it is capable of withstanding and that an injury has occurred.
In some cases, if you rethink your training programme, you may only need a few days’ rest and specific exercises to get the symptoms to disappear. If you do not change your training regime, the strain will continue and within a few days or months, the injury will have become a chronic, long-term injury that may become painful and ultimately irreversible.To avoid injury, it is important to check that your sports equipment provides adequate support and that it is comfortable to wear. If you focus on aligning your feet in their natural position, you correct the pressure on the joints, in particular the ankle, knee and hip, and spinal column. When your feet and ankles are aligned in their natural balanced positions, your knees, hips and shoulders are automatically aligned too. Good alignment often brings about very good pain relief. Good alignment also eliminates unnecessary strain on the muscles, joints, bones and ligaments because in an aligned body, body weight is optimally balanced. You can also avoid conventional compression pads, wedges and arch supports as good alignment also ensures healthy mobility in the muscles under your foot. Your feet get to work more naturally, using all the foot muscles, which may also ameliorate a sunken forefoot. All of these together help prevent sports injuries and promote rehabilitation.

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Development work has produced an insole that uses the foot’s own shock-absorbing functions and capacity to generate forward movement. The insoles focus on correcting heel position so that the knee, hips and shoulders are also aligned in a natural, balanced position. The layered design of our insoles means that there are different degrees of hardness in the outer and middle sole of the shoe to optimise contact with the underlay, stabilising and optimally aligning the body.

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