Assessing Sports Injuries Risks

Do you really take sports injuries seriously. Regular exercise cuts your chances of dying early. You're less likely to develop diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers, among other diseases. It helps you maintain your independence as you get older.

But inevitably as more of us act on this advice we risk injury through sport. While official guidance about the benefits of exercise is easy to find, advice about sports injury is difficult to uncover. It isn't mentioned on the NHS Direct website, for instance.

Following the age-old maxim that prevention is better than cure it's worth bearing in mind the following before you take up strenuous or even mild exercise of any sort:

warm up - and down

  • stretch to ease into activity
     
  • take exercise designed to strengthen specific muscles
     
  • recognise your limits, eat well, drink enough water
     

To reduce external risk factors:

  • choose and use equipment correctly (including your shoes and the surfaces you run on)
     
  • avoid sudden changes in training methods, effort and intensity
     
  • be aware of environmental factors such as the weather and lighting; play within the rules - they are there to prevent injury.
     

If you are injured remember 'RICE':

  • Rest the injury, but - if you can - stay physically active to maintain general fitness. This stage is often called 'active rest'
     
  • Ice for pain relief and for prevention of further bleeding into surrounding tissues;
     
  • Compression to reduce swelling; and
     
  • Elevation - raise the injured limb above the level of your heart
     

The key to treatment is stopping the 'vicious cycle' by spotting the cause of the injury in the first place.

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