With gyms closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and outside activities limited because of the weather, home workouts have become a popular way to stay in shape, but what happens if you experience an injury? At-home injury care is an essential step to help you get back on your feet, especially before the holidays. Learn more about common workout injuries and the steps you can take to recover in the comfort of your own home.
Whether you’ve decided to participate in an online aerobics class or lift weights at home, there are a few common sports medicine injuries to keep an eye out for:
- Shin splints. Shin splints are small tears in the lower leg muscles, shin bone, or tendons. They are often a result of overuse or an increase in training. Common symptoms include throbbing, aching, or tenderness along the inside of the shin. The pain is often intense at the start of physical activity but goes away once the muscles are loosened up.
- Rotator cuff strain. Rotator cuff strains are typically caused by training program errors, improper form, or excessive weight progression. If the rotator cuff is not properly engaged, the upward pull of the deltoid may pinch the top portion of the cuff up against the shoulder blade that meets with the collar bone. This often results in inflammation and swelling of the tendon, which may cause discomfort.
- Hip pain. A hip flexor strain is typically due to excessive training volume or tightness in the hip area. Activities such as Zumba and running are where hip flexors are put under the most strain. Many individuals dealing with this type of injury may experience muscle spasms, swelling, or bruising around the hip area, and stiffness after being stationary.
- Sprained ankle. A sprained ankle may occur during activities where you are walking or exercising on an uneven surface. Common symptoms of this type of ankle injury include swelling, pain, and limited range of motion.
Tips for At-Home Injury Care
The first few hours after sustaining an injury are the most critical. You may experience pain, swelling, and bruising, as well as throbbing or a dull ache. Additionally, the injured area may be tender to the touch or sensitive to movement. R.I.C.E. is a popular acronym that can be used to treat a minor injury.
- Rest: This is one of the most effective ways to jump-start the healing process. Your muscle is weakest and most vulnerable in the first few hours after an injury. Take a break from the activity that caused your injury.
- Ice: Apply a bag of frozen veggies, crushed ice, or an ice pack to your injury. Not only will it help relieve pain, but it will also prevent swelling by decreasing blood flow to the area. Never place the ice directly on your bare skin to avoid injury to the skin. Instead, you’ll want to wrap it in a towel or thin cloth before applying it to the injured area. Apply the ice or cold pack for 15 to 20 minutes, three or more times a day.
- Compress: Wrapping the injured area with an elastic bandage will help minimize swelling by allowing fluid to drain from the area. The bandage will provide support and remind you to remain still. If the dressing is too tight, numbness, tingling, or increased pain may occur.
- Elevate: Elevate the injury at the heart level or above your heart to help minimize swelling. If you are experiencing a hip injury, for example, lay down with a pillow wedged under your lower back to help elevate it.
Continue using the R.I.C.E. method for the first 48 to 72 hours after your injury. If you suspect your injury requires professional care or has not improved with home treatment, contact Dr. Hicken at 435-787-2000 for an appointment.