Inspired by the World Cup to play some sport? Watch out for
With the 2014 World Cup underway, have you been inspired to get
into the sporting spirit? We all know exercise is good for us, but
like many everyday situations, it poses its own risks to watch out
What causes sports injuries
Different parts of your body can be affected by a sports injury,
from your muscles, bones and ligaments to your tendons, joints and
Usually, sports injuries are caused by:
- not warming up properly
- using inadequate equipment or poor technique
- pushing yourself too hard
- old injuries re-emerging
- an accident
- exercising too much.
How to prevent sports injuries
It’s important to take care when exercising, here are some tips
to help prevent against getting hurt:
- Always warm up before playing, warm muscles are less
susceptible to injuries.
- Wear protective pads, mouth guards, helmets, gloves and other
equipment suitable for your chosen sport. Never play without your
- Know and follow the rules, this is extremely important for
anyone who participates in a contact sport. Rules of conduct are
enforced to keep everyone safe and healthy.
- Avoid playing when very tired or in pain. Pain indicates a
- Rest is important - athletes with high consecutive days of
training, have more injuries.
How to treat sports injuries
If you do feel any pain, stop exercising immediately, regardless
of whether your sports injury happened suddenly or you’ve had the
pain for a while. Continuing to exercise may cause further
You can treat most minor sports injuries, such as cuts and
grazes, bruises and blisters yourself. If your muscles are
sore, rest and over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or
ibuprofen (if no heart problems, kidney disease and illnesses that
cause digestive bleeding are present), will help.
Treating more serious injuries
The PRICE technique is a useful way of remembering how to treat
more serious sports injuries, such as ankle sprains or strains:
- Protect the affected area from further injury – for example, by
using a support.
- Rest – avoid exercise and reduce your daily physical activity.
Using crutches or a walking stick may help if you cannot put weight
on your ankle or knee.
- Ice – apply an ice pack to the affected area for 10–30 minutes.
A bag of frozen peas, or similar, will work well. Wrap the ice pack
in a towel to avoid it directly touching your skin and causing ice
- Get into a comfortable position. If a healthcare professional
is available they may be able to assist with applying bandaging for
- Elevation – keep the injured leg, knee, arm, elbow or wrist
raised above the level of the heart. This may also help to reduce
If you are still uncomfortable after 48 hours, or you suspect
that (due to extreme pain, swelling or difficulty walking) your
injury is more serious, seek medical attention as soon as
Where to go for medical attention
You can call the NHS by dialling 111 free of charge from any phone
for non-immediate emergencies. There are also urgent care or walk
in centres which offer assessment and treatment for minor injuries
such as sprains and strains. For serious accidents and emergencies,
go to A&E.