This post is part of The Ultimate Guide to Sports Medicine
You’re an active person. You’re strong, determined and you demand a lot from yourself and your body. But then, when you least expect it, you find yourself in pain. You’re unable to push yourself to the same level as you normally do. Do you see a doctor or should you tough it out?
The answer is simple, according to OrthoIndy sports medicine specialist Dr. Matthew Lavery, “Listen to your body. While we all have discomfort from time to time, more severe pain isn’t normal. If you are in extreme pain, stop that activity immediately and let your body rest. If it doesn’t improve with rest within a week or two, you may need to make an appointment with a sports medicine specialist.”
Many sports injuries are caused by overuse and improper warm ups or cool downs. You may be able to improve pain or tenderness in a muscle or tendon with a few simple strategies that you can try on your own before deciding to see a doctor:
- Rest the injured area for 48 hours
- Ice intermittently during the first 24 to 48 hours; never put ice directly on the skin, use a thin towel and apply ice for 20 minutes every two hours
- Compression bandages can be used to reduce swelling and restrict movement; great care should be taken to not apply wrap too tightly
- Elevation by raising the injured limb to an elevated and resting position above the heart
- Gently stretch the tight muscle a few times throughout the day
“If you have something beyond the usual aches and pains, that aren’t going away with rest this may be an indicator that something is seriously wrong,” says Dr. Lavery.
- Inability to fully move a body part such as your arm or leg
- Back or neck pain
- Inability to stand or walk
- Joint instability or locking
- Visible deformity in the arms, legs or joints
- Pain that keeps you from sleeping
- Pain that does not go away with rest
If you have an open wound, a concussion, a burn, an animal bite or you are bleeding go to an emergency room right away. OrthoIndy trauma physicians are located at the Trauma Center at St.Vincent Indianapolis, and there is a team of experts on call 24/7 to handle orthopedic traumas.
Learn more about sports medicine treatment at OrthoIndy.