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What to do when you have a sporting injury

62% of sporting injuries occur during practice so it's a good idea to know how to treat them to maximise recovery.

This time of year can bring many sporting injuries. Athletes who have trained or competed through the winter get injured because they’re getting tired. Others are getting their tennis rackets out because the weather’s better, and they’re inspired by Wimbledon or the French Open. We look at ways to take care of yourself when you have a sporting injury

Is it a new injury?

The advice we’re about to share is for new injuries where you’ve just rolled your ankle or felt something go in your knee while you were running or playing a sport. Traumatic events cause pain straight away, and the tips we’re about to share can help you. They’re different from the type of pain where you feel a niggle but run through it or where something starts to ache from overuse.

How to look after yourself

When you’ve got a sporting injury, you might wonder whether to apply ice, if you should rest and how much. Many people worry about whether resting will make their joints stiffen up completely. Initially, the best thing you can do is to get your injury checked. If you have excruciating pain or significant swelling, head to A&E so they can check for a fracture. Otherwise, a physiotherapist can assess you and let you know what you’re dealing with. The advice has changed over the years, bringing new acronyms. You might be familiar with RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), which changed to PRICE to add protection. We now have ‘PEACE & LOVE’, which is a bit of a mouthful. The ‘love’ part is mainly for rehabilitation, so for today's purposes we’ll focus on ‘peace

P = Protection

Protecting your joint means giving it a chance to rest. Avoid any movement that will make it worse for a couple of days. Torn tissues can bleed, so resting gives that a chance to stop and not restart. Imagine you cut your hand; you wouldn’t poke it to see if it was healing. The same principle applies to this type of injury. If you need to move about, you can use a tubigrip, braces, or crutches, but you must take the weight off. 

Peace & love is the best approach for new injury rehab.

E = Elevation

An injured body part will tend to swell as part of the healing process, and elevating the injured limb helps reduce and clear this swelling. Elevation is particularly useful if you’ve injured your lower leg. It’s a bit like a ketchup bottle – tipping it upside down helps it move downwards. Simple principle for the human body too !

A = Avoid anti-inflammatories

Anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen can disrupt the healing process. Taking medicine designed to reduce swelling might seem logical, but it can have the opposite effect. Let Mother Nature do her bit. Taking painkillers such as paracetamol is fine for most people as long as you don’t have any allergies and stick to the recommended dose. If ever in any doubt then your local Pharmacist can be a fount of knowledge regarding medications.

C = Compression

Applying compression strapping or Tubigrip, rest, and elevation helps minimise swelling. Thisis turn makes for a more comfortable experience and miimises and further tissue damag. You can also use ice over your strapping, which reduces pain and swelling.

E = Education

Knowledge is power, so get yourself checked out so you know what you’re dealing with. In some circumstances, you might need hospital treatment. Even if you don’t, understanding what you’ve done and how long the effects might last can be very reassuring and even reduce your pain. The late , great legendary physiotherapist and lecturer Louis Gifford said, “Effective reassurance is a bloody good painkiller.”

We couldn’t put it better ourselves.


Getting professional advice from a doctor or physiotherapist when you’re injured is vital, but you can still follow a few simple steps to look after yourself and aid your recovery.

If w can help or you are training for an event and want to avoid any injuries then

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