Whether you’re a dedicated athlete or weekend warrior your active life can lead to muscle and ligament injuries. This is a list of frequently asked questions that can help you prevent and treat sports injuries so you can get back in the game!
Q: What is a muscle strain?
A: Unlike a sprain, which is the stretching or tearing of a ligament, usually in the ankle, a strain in the stretching of a muscle or tendon. Most strains happen in the lower back and hamstring muscles in the back of the thigh.
Q: Can I avoid sports injuries?
A: It’s best to warm up your muscles with gentle exercise, like walking, for about 10-15 minutes. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking water before, during and after exercise or playing sports. It’s also important to cool down after activity.
Q: How can I stretch my upper body?
A: You can stretch your arms by extending them upward, your palms facing out and your fingers interlaced. Then slowly push your arms up and out. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and repeat. Do side stretches by standing with your arms over your head, place the elbow of your left arm in your right hand and slowly bend toward your right side. Hold for 20 seconds. Then switch sides, holding your right arm in your left hand, and repeat stretch for 20 seconds.
Q: How can I stretch my lower body?
A:Stretch your legs by putting one foot about 2 feet in front of the other and slowly leaning forward until the knee of your front leg is directly over your ankle. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds. Repeat the stretch with your other leg. Stretch your calf by leaning against a wall with one foot in front of the other. Keep your back leg straight and your heel on the floor. Hold your stretch for 20 seconds. Repeat the stretch with your other leg.
Q: What should I not do when stretching?
A:Keep the tension on the muscle steady. Stretching shouldn’t be painful or uncomfortable. Don’t bounce when you stretch.
Q: How can I treat a muscle sprain or strain?
A: The first sign of an injury is usually pain and swelling to the injured area. For the first few days, use RICE therapy—Rest, Ice packs, Compression and Elevation.
Q: Can I take medicine to heal a muscle injury?
A:Non-prescription pain medicines, such as ibuprophen (NSAIDs) and acetominophen can reduce pain and swelling. Take these medicines according to package instructions. You can also relieve pain with ice packs. You can buy compression bandages at the pharmacy.
Q: When should I see a doctor?
A: See a doctor when you cannot walk without having a lot of pain, have numbness in an area or cannot move the injured area, you see redness or red streaks spreading out from the injured area.
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