Management of Sports Injuries

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Management of Sports Injuries

The management/rehabilitation of sports injury are usually considered as being different from that for a similar injury in the general population, due to the nature of sports participation; the stress the injured site will subsequently be placed under; and the need for athletes to return to sport as early as is safe from the injury.

Initial management of soft tissue injury (not just sports injury) – aim is to reduce swelling into soft tissues – RICE method:
Rest –rest of the injured part
Ice – to reduce pain and produce vasoconstriction  reduce swelling
Compression – firm bandaging  reduces bleeding into soft tissues
Elevation – elevation will reduce swelling and encourage venous and lymphatic return

Sometimes expanded to PRICER or PRICES or PRICEMM – P = preparation or protection; R = rehabilitation; S = support; M = modalities; M = medication;

Individualised management programs should be devised for each individual athlete taking into account the nature and severity of the injury; the aetiology; the level of competition; the urgency for return to sport etc.

Bruckner & Khan (1993) base the overall management on six principles:
1. Minimise the extent of the initial damage
2. Reduce associated pain and inflammation
3. Promote healing of damaged tissues
4. Maintain or restore flexibility, strength, proprioception and overall fitness during the healing phase
5. Functionally rehabilitate the injured athlete to enable return to sport.
6. Assess and correct any predisposing factors in order to reduce the likelihood of recurrence.

The rehabilitation of sports injuries has to cover all aspects associated with athletic performance such as strength, flexibility, speed, endurance, power, skills and psychological readiness. A progressive model for rehabilitation is usually followed :
1) Control of the pain and swelling into the tissues; protection of damaged tissues
2) Restoration of the range of motion
3) Restoration of neuromuscular control and muscular endurance
4) Restoration of muscle strength and power
5) Resumption of sport specific training  return to sport

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