Whether you’re a runner, rugby player or a gymgoer, there’s nothing worse than a sports injury that prevents you from training. It can leave you feeling frustrated, low and of course, experiencing significant levels of pain. While you may be eager to get back to exercising, it’s important to rest and take care of your physical (and mental) health.
With that in mind, we’ve put together this quick guide on how to aid recovery after sporting injuries. Here are our top tips.
After experiencing a sporting injury, the first thing experts recommend is RICE therapy. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation, and can help to reduce the inflammation and swelling while also aiding healing.
- Rest: stop activity and rest as much as you can for 48 hours
- Ice: apply an ice pack for 15 minutes every 2-3 hours
- Compression: wrap the affected area in an elastic compression bandage
- Elevation: where possible, raise the injured area above the level of your heart
Understanding and diagnosing
Depending on the severity of your sports injury, it may be a good idea to seek medical help. By assessing and diagnosing your injury, a medical professional will be able to give you advice on recovery time, provide information about rehabilitation and guidance on activities that should be avoided. Additionally, an experienced physiotherapist can assess any other areas of weakness and provide an exercise programme that aims to prevent further injury.
Good nutrition is essential to the healing process and the right vitamins, minerals and proteins can provide your body with the components it needs to repair your sports injury. Experts typically recommend foods that are high in protein (for muscle recovery), vitamin C (for inflammation) and omegas (for wound healing), including:
- Vegetables: leafy greens, broccoli, kale, sweet potatoes
- Fruits: berries
- Protein: Eggs, salmon, chicken, shellfish
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, pecans
Recovery and your mental health
Many people use exercise as a tool to relieve stress and boost their mental health, which can make the recovery period more challenging. As such, it’s important to focus on your mood as well as taking steps to promote your physical recovery.
Consider introducing some mindfulness activities while you take some rest time for your sporting injury. This could include meditation, mindful gardening, mindful eating, journaling, reading or forest bathing.
There is no single way to aid recovery after a sporting injury, but hopefully some of these suggestions will help you on your way. So whether you’re dealing with a torn ligament from a late challenge in a football match, a light sprain from over doing it in training, or even a major injury from a big hit from a rugby tackle, try incorporating some of these methods into your healing process.