By Elizabeth Magill
Dealing with an injury that requires rest–no matter for how long–can seem like an eternity. If you’re fitness-conscious as well, you’ll be concerned about staying in shape during your recovery. According to the International Association of Athletics Federations you can do it by focusing on strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance during your downtime.
Here are 10 tips to help you stay fit while recovering.
1. Start with R.I.C.E.
If your injury is sports-related, a sprain, strain, knee injury, fracture, dislocation, or an injury of the Achilles tendon, treatment should begin with the R.I.C.E. method, an acronym for rest, ice, compression and elevation. R.I.C.E helps to reduce swelling and relieve pain, especially during the early phase of the injury. The R.I.C.E. treatment also helps your injury heal faster, enabling you to get back to your previous fitness regime more quickly.
2. Communicate with your doctor
Whatever exercise you do, do it under your doctor’s supervision. Your physician will keep you apprised of what you’re ready for, and what you need to hold off on, so that you don’t re-injure yourself.
3. Listen to your body
In addition to listening to your doctor, listen to your body. It will let you know when you’re exercising too much or pushing too hard. Overdoing it can hinder your ability to stay in shape while recovering from an injury.
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Elbow pain is often referred to as tennis elbow. Tennis elbow is an over-use injury in which the tendons degenerate, which is very painful. I have two clients who have overcome this injury. One of which was a college tennis player and she ended up seeing a physical therapist to help with the problem. The therapist and I worked together and worked through the issue and she is now cured and back to her normal self. Another client of mine did not want to get medical help, so I have her in an elbow brace and it seems to be working just fine.
Many activities and occupations can lead to this injury: tennis, raquetball, throwing, weight lifting, plumbing, painting, and even raking. There are many treatments that can help reduce the pain such as wearing an elbow brace, rest and ice, stretching, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy. If you have chronic pain in your elbow, please see a physician because it will continue to get worse if not properly treated.
Shin Splints (pain/tenderness of shin/lower leg) is a common over-use injury and is very painful at times. Shin splints is not a diagnosis in itself, but a description of symptoms of which there could be a number of causes; although the most common cause is inflammation or swelling.
This pain is common among runners and athletes and is caused by a sudden increase in distance or intensity of a workout schedule. There are several things you can do to treat this problem and one of which is half of the RICE technique. Rest and ice are two of the main treatments for this issue. Other ways to help prevent shin splints are to properly stretch before and after activity, wear proper footwear, swim, anti-inflammatory medication (ibuprofen), exercise on soft terrain, and gradually increase distance or intensity.
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Preventing injuries is possible when you are prepared for the activity, both physically and mentally. Injuries can be prevented by proper warm-up, proper mechanics and techniques, proper training and conditioning, and knowledge of the activity. Throughout the next few weeks I am going to explore a few of the most common injuries and how to prevent and recuperate from them.
Today, however, I am going to talk about one of the main methods to treat an acute injury (strain or pull). This method is known as the R.I.C.E method, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
Rest will prevent further injury and allow the healing process to take action.
Icing the injury will stop the swelling and limits the bleeding in the injured area by constricting injured blood vessels. I recommend icing the injury for 20 minutes once every three hours or so. Remember to wrap the ice, direct contact is harmful to the body.
Compression supports the injured joint and helps control the swelling as well.
Elevation reduces blood flow to injured area by using gravity, which in turn reduces swelling.
Please feel free to leave a comment or email if you have any questions. Again, more injury prevent is yet to come.