Friday, March 31, 2017

Weekend warriors: Don't overdo

Spring is sprung--many places.  Whether you are starting a new workout routine or digging a veggie garden or playing with the kids or in your office sports league, injuries are a possibility.

Martin Mufich, MSN, RN, sports massage therapist and clinical asst profssor at Texas A&M College of Nursing, has some tips for you.

Ligament injuries

Suddenly your foot lands on a bump or uneven spot followed by a jolt of pain. Your ankle likely has been sprained or twisted.

A sprain involves the overstretching or tearing of ligaments, the fibrous tissues that connect bones to each other. They can happen in any joint--but ankles are a common target.

The symptoms of a sprain are pain, inflammation, tenderness, bruising or hampered movement.

A mild sprain takes 7 to 10 days to heal. A torn ligament, called a severe sprain, makes it difficult to walk and can take several weeks to heal--for those a health care provider needs to be involved.


A strain is the overstretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon.  These connect muscle to bone. Strains can be a one-event thing or accumulate from repetitive motions.

Symptoms are muscle spasms, weakness, cramping and immobility--plus pain, bruising and swelling.


Tears are the ripping of fibrous tissue--in the ligaments, muscles, or tendons. This is more serious and can take months to mend. Some tears may require surgery.

Treatment and prevention

When any injury like this occurs, the body first reaction is to send in a lot of fluid and white blood cells to the damaged area. This means swelling, which can compress nearby nerves and cause pain.

You need to follow the RICES:

R -- Rest. Avoind putting weight on the injury, perhaps by using crutches.

I --Ice.  Apply cold not heat for 10-20 minutes every hour or two throughout the first 24-72 hours. Or until swelling goes down.

C -- Compression. Wear an elastic wrap for the first 24-36 hours. Snug but not crazy tight.

E -- Elevation. Rest the injury above heart level for 2-3 hours a day--in other words, put your foot up.

S -- Stabilization. Stabilize the area until care becomes available--this applies mostly to being in the wild.

You may feel discomfort thought this process--but should not feel a sharp pain.

To prevent these unpleasant occurrences--or minimize the risk--know your limits, warm up, wear protective equipment if appropriate, and wear proper fitting shoes.

Also--ask about rehab or proper physical therapy.

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