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Don't Ignore Sports Injury Warning Signs

Feb 28, 2008
Sports injuries are common and expected for those who enjoy an active lifestyle. But according to experts in the sports medicine field, there are warnings signs that you may have an injury that needs attention. While some sports injuries are evident immediately, others can grow progressively worse with time. If both types of injuries are ignored, chronic problems can occur.

Joint pain, particularly in the joints of the knee, ankle, elbow and wrist, should never be ignored. These joints are not covered by muscle and therefore pain in these regions is rarely because of muscular strain. If you experience joint pain that lasts more than 48 hours, seek a physician's diagnosis as soon as possible.

If after exercise or sports, you experience pain at a specific point in a bone, muscle or joint when you press a finger into it, you may have a significant injury. If the same spot on the other side of the body does not produce the same tenderness, it would be a good idea to see a doctor.

It's not unusual to have swelling in connection with a sports injury, as nearly all injuries of this type cause swelling. Swelling is usually quite obvious and can be seen easily. Occasionally, however, something may look normal even though it feels swollen. Swelling goes hand-in-hand with pain, redness and heat. When swelling within a joint occurs, you will often experience joint pain and stiffness. The injury may also produce a clicking sound as the tendons snap over one another after having been pushed into a new position from the swelling.

While swelling may not be obvious in every injury, it can also be identified by checking for a reduced range of motion in a joint. When there is significant swelling within a joint, an individual will lose range of motion. The limb will only be able to go so far in each direction. If you suspect injury, compare one side of the body with the other to identify any differences; if there are any, you likely have an injury that needs attention.

While comparing one side of the body to the other for weakness or muscle fatigue can often be hard to do, it can also be helpful when assessing injury. To test for weakness, lift the same weight with the right and left side and look at the result. Or place body weight on one leg and then the other. A difference in the ability to support your weight is another indicator that an injury may require a physician's attention.

Numbness and tingling should never be ignored. These sensations are often related to nerve compression, and these warning signs may indicate serious injury that should always be attended to by a physician.

Treating a Sports Injury
If any of the above warning signs appear after physical activity, your first concern is to prevent any further damage. To do so, stop all activity and begin treatment immediately. It's important to not the problem get any worse or let the swelling continue. Once you can locate the source of the injury, you can begin to remedy the problem.

For any acute injury, the first line of defense to reduce swelling is the R.I.C.E. treatment. Swelling of an injured area causes pain and loss of motion, which in turn will limit the use of the muscles. Muscles that are unused will weaken, shorten and resist repair. The R.I.C.E. treatment calls for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Avoid the use of heat to the injured area as heat will increase circulation and increase swelling.

Step by Step Injury Treatment
1. Stop the activity immediately.
2. Wrap the injury in a compression bandage.
3. Apply ice to the injury for no more than 15 minutes at a time. (Use a bag of crushed ice or a bag of frozen vegetables)
4. In order to avoid frostbite, let the area warm completely before applying ice again
5. Elevate the injured area to reduce swelling.
6. See a physician for proper diagnosis of any serious injury.
About the Author
Geologix Inc. manufactures products using a proprietary formula featuring 34 natural minerals contained in the ancient sea water from the famous Michigan Basin -- a concentration of minerals higher than that found in any known body of water in the world. Mineral Essentials focuses on spa, skin care, and massage products to moisturize and provide anti-aging protection for great skin. Mineral Essentials, and Acheaway
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