Last Thursday, we talked about how to prevent common exercise injuries. Today, we get to talk about treatment and ways to help with exercise injuries.
Ways to treat an exercise injury can differ depending on the injury. If you do get injured, use the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) technique as soon as possible, and continue using it for 24-48 hours after the injury happens. This technique promotes healing and helps decrease swelling.
Rest: Rest the injured area. Stop, change, or take a break from the activity if you feel pain.
Ice: Ice the affected area as soon as possible after you get injured. This will help with swelling and also with the healing process. Apply the ice pack for 15-20 minutes. Do not place the ice pack right on the skin- cover it with a thin towel or a piece of clothing. If you don’t have an ice pack in your pocket while working out;), then you can use a cold water bottle or another cold item. Ice can be used every 3-4 hours for 1-2 days after the injury.
Compression: Wrap the injured area with an ace bandage or a piece of clothing to prevent swelling and give support. Make sure it’s not too tight…you still want to keep your limb…even if it is broken. :)
Elevation: Try to keep the injured part elevated while you are icing it and every time you are sitting or lying down. Try to keep the injured part elevated above your heart to help the blood go back to the heart. Elevating the injured area will help with swelling also.
Common Exercise Injuries
Treatment Exercises and Stretches: Most of the following exercise injuries are caused by trying to do too much too soon, or adding too much weight or mileage too soon. Remember, don’t be ashamed to start out slow and build your way up! Perform 1-3 sets of each exercise.
Toe taps: While you are sitting at work or home (or really, wherever you are!), tap your toes.
Trace the alphabet with your toes: Lift your foot up and write an invisible alphabet with your toes. This is a great exercise for prevention and treatment.
Three-Way Calf raises: Stand on either the floor, or the edge of a step. If you are on a step, put the balls of your feet on the step with your heels hanging off of the edge. Push up on your tippy toes and come back down. Do ten normal calf raises (toes facing forward), ten calf raises with your toes facing inward, and ten calf raises with your toes facing outward and your heels together. This is a great prevention exercise also.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome- If you have ever experienced this, you know how bad it hurts! I experienced this injury a couple of years ago, when I was just starting to crank up my running mileage. I was consistant in performing the following exercises, and it went away (thank goodness!). Here are the exercises that helped me:
Hip stretch: lean against a wall or another sturdy object. Place your outer leg (the leg furthest from the wall/sturdy object) behind your inner leg (the leg closest to the wall), and lean towards the wall. Push your hip out slowly until you feel a stretch in your hip. Hold for thirty seconds and repeat on the other side.
Squats and lunges: Squats and lunges help strengthen your bootie and your hip flexors, which both need to be strengthened if you are experiencing IT band problems.
SMR Foam Roller- IT Band: Lie on your side with the roller close to your hip. Slightly lean forward and move the foam roller along your outer thigh. Perform this movement for 30 seconds and switch to the other side. *If you need less pressure on your IT band, place one foot on the ground while you roll the other leg. This will take some of the weight off of the leg being rolled (bottom picture).
Leg Lifts: Strengthen those hip flexors! Lie on your side and slowly lift your leg until you feel a stretch. Repeat 10-12 times and repeat on the other side.
RICE! Let your ankle heal first and then start treatment/recovery exercises. You can start slowly with walking and then go into range of motion exercises (The next two exercises listed are considered range of motion exercises).
Spell the ABC’s with your foot: Trace the ABC’s with your foot. Strengthen that ankle!
Side to side knees: Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor then move your knees slowly side to side.
Calf stretch: Just a good old fashion calf stretch! Place your hands on a wall or the floor. Walk your feet out until you feel a stretch in your calves when your heels are on the ground. For a better stretch, put one foot on the ground at a time.
Calf foam roller: Place your calves on the foam roller. Roll your calves out slowly for 30 seconds. Can do both at a time or if you want less pressure on your calves, do one at a time with one foot on the floor.
Roll it with a ball! When you first feel sore, roll a golf ball on the bottom of your foot. You can also roll a frozen water bottle on the bottom of your foot to help with swelling and healing.
For more information on these specific injuries and other common injuries, click here.
*Interested in foam rolling? Foam rolling is an awesome way to prevent and treat injuries. For more info on foam rolling and more examples of foam rolling, click here.
Have a great day!