Health One Family Medicine

Athletic Injuries: Prevention and Care

Athletic injuries are common in children and young adults. According to Stanford Children’s Health, more than 3.5 million children and teenagers are injured every year due to physical activity or organized sporting events. One-third of all injuries in children are also related to sports and exercise.

The older you grow, the more likely you are to experience an athletic injury. With age, the odds of lingering athletic injuries also increase. Any new injuries can easily aggravate these previous untreated or unhealed ones.

Let’s look at how you can prevent athletic injuries and care for your body each time you get injured.

Athletic Injuries: Prevention

The best way to prevent athletic injuries is to warm up and stretch properly before any physical activity. If your muscles remain cold, they will be at a high risk of overstretching and tearing. Warm muscles are more flexible because they can absorb quick movements, making it less likely for you to get injured.

To avoid common sports injuries, take the following steps:

1. Use Proper Technique

Learn the proper way to move during physical activity. Different types of exercises require different postures and positions. For example, bending your knees at the right time can help avoid an injury to your spine or hips in some sports.

2. Have Proper Equipment

Wear the right shoes and clothes to make sure you have the athletic protection you need. Poorly-fitted shoes or athletic gear can increase your risk for injury.

3. Don’t Overdo It

If you get hurt, allow yourself some time to heal before you resume the physical activity. Please don’t try any physical activity while you are in pain. Your body needs time to heal. Return to physical activity after your body has recovered. Remember to slowly ease yourself back into the activity rather than jumping in with high intensity.

4. Cool Down

Remember to cool down after every physical activity. Usually, cooling down involves doing the same stretching exercises that we do during a warm-up session.

5. Resume Activity Slowly

Don’t take excessive rest after an injury, as this may delay the healing process. After the initial 48-hour period, you can use heat on your injury to help relax your tight muscles. Then, slowly ease back into exercise or your sport of choice.

Athletic Injuries: Care and Treatment

The RICE method is a standard care treatment for athletic injuries. It stands for:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compress
  • Elevate

The RICE method is highly recommended for mild injuries. You need to follow this method within the first 24 to 36 hours after getting injured to reduce swelling and prevent bruising and pain.

If your athletic injury is causing you severe pain, you can take over-the-counter or prescription medications (painkillers). Painkillers provide relief from pain and swelling.

If your athletic injury feels or looks severe, make an appointment to see a healthcare provider right away. Seek instant care if the injured area shows one or more of the following signs:

  • Severe swelling
  • Unbearable pain
  • Visible lumps or bumps
  • Popping or crunching sounds in the joints
  • Weakness
  • Inability to put weight on the joint
  • Instability
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Fever

Serious athletic injuries like dislocation can require surgery and physical therapy. Contact Health One Family Medicine for proper diagnosis and care if your injury doesn’t heal within two weeks.

To make an appointment with a provider at Health One Family Medicine, visit or call (469)262-5762 today.

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