With so many seniors, and every other age group of people more physically active than ever, it is always prudent to be mindful of the potential for injury caused by exercising and physical activities. Although most of us are not professional athletes, daily activities such as jogging, playing racquetball, training with weights, and even brisk walking can still cause injury. Although the feeling of accomplishment after a good workout may be exhilarating, but working out too hard may lead to a sports injuries, which may require immediate attention.

Some exercise related injuries occur due to a lack of proper training, conditioning, the absence of stretching and warming up before a good workout, or the improper usage of training equipment.  

Some sports injuries are chronic, meaning they accumulate progressively over a long passage of time. These injuries can occur after years of training or exercise and are usually as a result of repetitive movements or activities such as jogging, playing golf or racquet games. These movements usually cause stress on your ankles, elbows, wrists, knees, shoulders, ankles or hips. Among the many injuries grouped as “chronic injuries” are :-

1) Stress Fractures - This is a condition where hairline cracks or tiny fractures are formed in the bones. These cracks are usually caused by repetitive force and pressure on the bones concerned such as in long distance running or repetitive jumping as in playing basketball.

2) Tendinitis - This condition is an inflammation of a tendon of a joint. It can be a painful condition usually affecting shoulder joints, elbows, wrists, knees and the ankles.

3) Sciatica - This is a type of back pain which can also shoots down to the leg and feet. The radiating pain can also cause numbness, a burning sensation and the tingling feelings of pins and needles to the limbs. Sciatica usually occurs to a person who is constantly in a forward posture such a cyclist or someone who is constantly using the trunk rotation such as in playing golf or tennis. If this injury is not being treated sooner than later, it will become worse and over time and may develop into arthritis.

Acute injuries are injuries which occur on the spot while you are exercising, such as a sprained ankle or wrist sprain. These injuries are often manifested as sudden pain, redness, and swelling of the areas affected. 

Someone who has an acute injury is usually unable to place some weight on the injured area. He or she will also be unable to move the joint through its full range of motion because of the pain and inflammation which obstruct any movement. Bone fracture or joint dislocation are also classified as acute injuries. If you are older in age, acute injuries especially in bone fractures can lead to serious medical consequences especially in concussion and hip fractures.

If you are inflicted with a sports injury, do seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Depending on the severity and extent of the injury, you may require immediate attention by a medical professional. Your medical professional may prescribe some pain relief medicine, a corticosteroid injection which is a drug which is used to treat muscle and joint inflammation, or put the injured area in a cast such as in the case of a broken bone.

After leaving the medical facility, a person will need to follow the R.I.C.E. treatment procedure to make sure the injury properly heals. So what is R.I.C.E.?  It simply means rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Resting, especially sleeping will give the tissues time to repair and heal faster.

Ice will also need to be applied periodically to a soft tissue injury. Ice can be applied to the injury wrapped in a piece of cloth for not more than 20 minutes at a time. Using a thin material like a washcloth or towel between the ice and your skin will help control the swelling and redness of an injury without the risk of having frostbite to take place.

Compression is advised through the use of an ACE bandage or medical wrapping. However, if you feel that the bandage is too tight, then you may want to re-wrap the swollen or affected area. Elevation of the limb affected can help to control or diminish any swelling if the injured limb is placed above the level of the heart.

Once you have carried out the R.I.C.E. steps and let the injured limb to heal and recover, you can also apply soft massages to the injured area to help to reduce any scar tissues and improve the healing process to the soft tissues.

Gentle and slow stretches that test the full range of the limb’s motion are recommended. This is best done with the supervision of a physiotherapist if the injury is more serious in nature. This is because overstretching an injured limb or the wrong type of stretches can run the risk of injuring it yet again. As such, a certified therapist can help you to properly rehabilitate your injured limb and avoid overworking it causing more harm than good.

About The Author Of This Guest Posting - Max Gottlieb is the content manager for Senior Planning and Prime Medical Alert. Prime Medical Alert provides medical alert systems to help seniors maintain their independence and Senior Planning is a free service designed to help seniors find long term health care.

How to treat an exercise related Injury

Chronic Injuries

Acute Exercise Injuries