Sports physiotherapist Harmeet Bawa guides you on the treatment of different sports injuries.

Sports injuries are common during fitness and sports training, and competitions. These are of two kinds. The first are those that don’t require immediate medical attention, but affect attaining peak performance. The second, are more acute injuries that prevent an athlete from training and competitive sports activities.

Both kinds need treatment, to optimise performance. Minor, treatable injuries can be managed at home with the PRICE regime. But others that manifest acute pain, redness or swelling, or result in an inability to move the injured or another part of the body, signal the need for medical attention.

Right after an injury, follow the PRICE Regime

P: Prevention of further injury

R: Rest to the injured part

I: Icing of the injured part

C: Compression of the injured part

E: Elevation of the injured part

Common injuries and their treatment

Lateral ankle sprain

This is an injury to the outer side of the ankle. When the ankle twists inwards, the ligaments get stretched, leading to a sprain.

#1 Initial treatment focuses on icing, compression and elevation of ankle at home, which reduces inflammation.

#2 Avoid straining your ankle, and take rest and analgesic medications to help to reduce the pain.

#3 For recovery, you need rehabilitation treatment directed at restoration of the full range of motion, muscle conditioning, proprioceptive exercises and functional exercises. Your foot alignment needs to be checked out, and footwear modification made if necessary.

Hamstrings strain

This refers to the straining of the hamstring muscle at the back of the thigh, which occurs due to excessive acceleration and deceleration activities.

#1 The initial treatment consists of PRICE regime- relative rest, soft tissue therapy and soft massage may be included.

#2 After tackling the acute stage of injury, get going on stationary exercise machines like rowing and cross trainer. In the later stages, stretching of hamstrings and Nordic strengthening are beneficial. Gradually, you must progress to gentle jogging and shuttle runs.

Shin splin

This is a broad term for any pain on the front of the leg, and is also referred to as “medial tibial stress syndrome.” Typically, it affects runners.

#1 Symptomatic treatment begins with PRICE.

#2 You can switch to swimming or cycling to stay active.

#3 You need an assessment of your foot alignment, footwear and training techniques.

#4 A sport taping can relieve symptoms and take the strain off the leg.  Make sure you do stretching exercises, of calf and tibialis posterior muscle, and strengthening exercises such as calf and toe raises.

Groin Pain

This develops in the inner side of the thigh, extending till the groin. Groin pain commonly occurs after sprinting, or as a result of changing direction, with rapid movements of leg against resistance like kicking.

# 1 The traditional treatment is usually rest, but symptoms may recur. After the initial PRICE treatment, go for some stretching and strengthening exercises, to ensure muscle regains pre-injury level of strength and flexibility.

#2 Sports massage helps by releasing tension in the muscle and increasing blood flow. Seek the help of a professional physiotherapist to speed  up the healing process, using electrotherapeutic modalities.

#3 Soft tissue manipulation of the involved muscles helps to re-educate them. Acute groin pain may take 2-3 weeks to settle, whereas chronic injury may take months to heal.

Tennis Elbow

This is an injury on outer side of the elbow. Acute tennis elbow results due to poor technique of the player, whereas chronic injury may be due to repetitive action of the wrist extensors.

#1 No single treatment is effective in treating this condition, so the course of action varies from one person to another. You can use a combination of Electrotherapeutic modalities, soft tissue manipulation, dry needling for trigger points, stretching of extensor group of muscles, counter bracing, taping, ESWT and corticosteroid injections.

#2 Exercises should be started when the pain subsides a little. You can do wrist stretching too, to help gradually increase the load transmitted through the extensor tendon.