Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dealing with injury

Since April I have been struggling with a nagging injury that just won't seem to loosen it's little grip. I sprained my MCL at the Minnesota RollerGirls Season Championships. About a month earlier I had bruised my patella tendon and was benched for one bout--I had never had to miss a bout before!

Still, I went to Physical Therapy, iced nightly and did all I was supposed to for my knee to heal! What I was to avoid was falling on it. I can handle that!! Unless I have other girls chasing me, hitting me and basically trying to kill me while going directly through them. Ah, the beauty of full contact sports.

True to what has been the theme of much of my blog, I am a running lover at heart. So playing a full contact sport for me, or a team sport in general was a new experience almost daily for my career in MNRG. For me the idea of an injury bigger than a pulled muscle or shin splints was entirely new. Other than sprained ankles and other miscellaneous twists and pulls, I had never suffered an injury that prevented me from playing whenever I chose.

When I sprained my MCL, I couldn't walk or go up stairs, let alone play. It took me at least 8 weeks of Physical Therapy to feel really up to par and even then, I didn't get the green light to start running. So, being a very active person how did I cope with the injury and my down time? And how does anyone stay safely active and fit when injured? Read on fit girls!

my wimpy little knee brace I wore when I was starting to run again!

To begin: always Never try to "work through" the pain of a sports injury. Stop playing or exercising when you feel pain. Playing or exercising more only causes more harm. Some injuries should be seen by a doctor right away. Others you can treat yourself.

Call a doctor when:

  • The injury causes severe pain, swelling, or numbness
  • You can't put any weight on the area
  • An old injury hurts or aches
  • An old injury swells
  • The joint doesn't feel normal or feels unstable.

If you don't have any of these signs, it may be safe to treat the injury at home. If the pain or other symptoms get worse, you should call your doctor. Use the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method to relieve pain, reduce swelling, and speed healing. Follow these four steps right after the injury occurs and do so for at least 48 hours:

  • Rest. Reduce your regular activities. If you've injured your foot, ankle, or knee, take weight off of it. A crutch can help. If your right foot or ankle is injured, use the crutch on the left side. If your left foot or ankle is injured, use the crutch on the right side.
  • Ice. Put an ice pack to the injured area for 20 minutes, four to eight times a day. You can use a cold pack or ice bag. You can also use a plastic bag filled with crushed ice and wrapped in a towel. Take the ice off after 20 minutes to avoid cold injury.
  • Compression. Put even pressure (compression) on the injured area to help reduce swelling. You can use an elastic wrap, special boot, air cast, or splint. Ask your doctor which one is best for your injury.
  • Elevation. Put the injured area on a pillow, at a level above your heart, to help reduce swelling.
You have to rest and recover fully so you can being to participate in your favorite sports and activities again with less of a chance for re-injury! Make sure you listen to your body and to your Doctor so you can get optimum performance from a healthy and healed body!

Tomorrow: how to stay fit and fab when you are healing from injury!
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Although Mary from Fit this girl is a CPT, always consult your physician or health care provider before beginning any nutrition or exercise program. Use of the programs, advice, and information contained in this website is at the sole choice and risk of the reader.