5 Things to Take Care of After Sustaining a Sports Injury

From the excitement of cheering fans to the pain of a strained hamstring, sports injuries can temporarily halt the progress of talented athletes. Whether it’s a muscle tear during a game or mastering a yoga position, the approach to recovery usually includes well-known strategies.

In addition to five standard treatments for less severe injuries, this article also highlights cutting-edge therapies for more serious sports injuries and alternative methods for quicker healing. Explore ways to tap into the body’s inherent healing abilities and uncover helpful resources from unexpected places.

5 Basic Treatments for Sports Injuries

Sports injuries are a bummer, but luckily, there are a variety of effective conventional treatments to get you back on the field or court as soon as possible. For relatively minor injuries, there’s no need for a professional trainer or a doctor’s intervention. All you need is familiarity with fundamental care and recovery methods. Here are five of the most commonly used:

1. RICE Technique

The RICE. protocol is a frequently suggested treatment for acute injuries like sprains and strains. This acronym signifies rest, ice, compression, and elevation. The initial step involves resting the injured part and refraining from activities that could worsen the injury. 

Use ice packs enclosed in a thin towel for intervals of 15 to 20 minutes every several hours to alleviate pain and decrease inflammation. A compression bandage can support and lessen swelling, but remember not to bind it tightly. 

Finally, raise the injured area above your heart level to help diminish swelling and facilitate fluid outflow. Implementing the RICE technique during the preliminary phase of an acute injury can contribute to pain control, swelling reduction, and acceleration of the healing process.

2. Heat Therapy and Cold Therapy

Therapy through heat operates by enhancing circulation and blood flow to a specific area using elevated temperature. This can aid in muscle relaxation and rectifying damaged tissue. Heat therapy treatments are administered through dry heat packs, heating pads, and saunas.

On the other hand, cold therapy, also called cryotherapy, minimizes blood flow to a specific area, which helps reduce inflammation and swelling. This can alleviate pain, particularly near a joint or tendon. It also lessens nerve activity, providing relief from pain. Cold therapy treatment can be executed using ice packs, ice massages, coolant sprays, or ice baths.

3. Compress

Securing your injury with an elastic bandage can aid in reducing swelling by obstructing fluid accumulation. It can also alleviate pain by partially immobilizing the injured area. While the bandage may not fully restrict movement in the hurt area, it will offer a degree of support and remind you to limit movement.

If the bandage induces numbness or tingling, unwrap and reapply it loosely. The bandage shouldn’t be so constrictive that it causes discomfort or disrupts blood circulation. Even a slight compression can help prevent fluid from gathering around the injury site.

4. Icing

The advantages of using ice are that it is most effective within the initial 24 to 48 hours following an injury. You can use a bag of crushed ice, frozen vegetables, or an ice pack to soothe your wound. This helps alleviate discomfort and minimize swelling in the affected area. 

Not putting the ice directly onto your uncovered skin is important to prevent frostbite. Instead, cover it with a thin cloth or a towel before applying it to the hurt site. Use the ice for 15 to 20 minutes, allowing your skin to regain its normal temperature between applications.

5. Exercises for Early Rehabilitation

After the initial inflammation subsides, engaging in an early range of motion exercises is crucial to rehabilitate an injured joint. To optimally recover from an injury through exercise, it’s recommended to consult with seasoned physical therapists from a reputable orthopedic clinic. Conducting these physical therapy exercises under the supervision of an orthopedic specialist or sports medicine doctor is advantageous for several reasons:

  • They provide professional advice on achieving a quicker and more effective recovery
  • They offer guidance that can assist in preventing future injuries
  • They can recommend the most suitable exercises tailored to your specific injury
  • They can help you avoid exacerbating the injury

Advanced Treatments for Sports Injuries

Modern advancements provide new possibilities for quicker healing and performance restoration in cases where standard treatments fall short or when athletes aim for a swift recovery. Here’s a look at some of these groundbreaking options:

Regenerative Medicine:

This approach taps into the body’s natural repair abilities:

  • Platelet-Rich Plasma (P.R.P.): Concentrating and injecting your blood platelets, loaded with growth factors, into the injury site speeds up the healing of ligaments, tendons, and cartilage.
  • Stem cell therapy: Stem cells are explored for their potential in healing cartilage and meniscus injuries, though research continues.

Minimally Invasive Surgery:

This surgery type balances swift recovery with high precision:

  • Arthroscopic surgery: Small cuts and a camera let surgeons diagnose and fix joint injuries with less harm to surrounding tissues, resulting in quicker healing and minimal scarring.
  • Robotic-assisted surgery: Robots provide unmatched precision, enabling smaller cuts and finer operations, which may lead to speedier recovery and improved results.


This field is delving into new healing agents:

  • Exosomes: These cell-produced particles are being examined for their role in reducing inflammation and aiding tissue regeneration in sports injuries.
  • Growth factor therapies: Synthetic growth factors aim to replicate the body’s healing processes, possibly speeding up tissue repair and reducing the recovery time.

These advanced treatments are constantly developing. Consulting with a sports medicine expert is key to understanding their risks and benefits. While these options are promising, they often supplement conventional methods like physical therapy for a well-rounded recovery strategy.

Alternative Therapies for Sports Injuries

Beyond the usual methods like RICE and physical therapy, holistic therapies can greatly improve sports injury recovery. They tackle the physical, emotional, and mental aspects, giving athletes a more active role in their recovery.


This traditional Chinese practice uses fine needles at specific body points. Acupuncture is thought to activate natural healing, possibly easing pain, swelling, and muscle tightness.

Yoga and Pilates:

These exercises blend stretching with strength-building. They enhance flexibility, core strength, and body awareness, aiding recovery and preventing future injuries by encouraging correct muscle use and movement.


This Indian medicinal approach aims for body and mind balance. In treating sports injuries, it may suggest herbs, dietary changes, and certain yoga poses to correct imbalances that might have led to the injury.

Mind-Body Techniques:

Healing isn’t just physical; mental and emotional health are key, too. Techniques include:

  • Meditation: This can help lessen pain, improve sleep, and strengthen coping skills during recovery.
  • Visualization: Picturing the body healing can speed up repair and motivate during rehab.


  • Always talk to a healthcare expert before trying new therapies.
  • These treatments should add to, not replace, professional medical advice.
  • Tune into your body’s signals and tailor activities and treatments to your unique needs and pain levels.

Integrating these alternative methods with conventional medical care lets athletes form a comprehensive recovery plan that nurtures both body and mind. This approach fosters a well-rounded and thorough return to sports.

Recommended reading: Benefits of Personal Training

Frequently Asked Questions

What professional sport has the most injuries?

Statistics differ, but American football consistently stands out for the most pro sports injuries. This is due to its frequent contact and high-impact collisions. Other contenders are hockey, rugby, and extreme sports like boxing and mixed martial arts.

Can you sue someone for a sports injury?

In sports, you usually can't sue for injuries during the game since risks are expected. But, you can sue if someone hurts you on purpose, is very careless, or doesn't keep you safe, like not using safe equipment or not stopping dangerous play. Proving it was their fault is tough, so get a lawyer's advice.

Who pays for high school sports injuries?

The parent's health insurance usually covers the costs of high school sportsparents' injuries. Sometimes, schools have special insurance for athletes. Rarely, if the school or coach is at fault, like with bad equipment, they might pay. Most often, it's the parents, then school insurance, and rarely through lawsuits.

Are schools liable for sports injuries?

Schools are sometimes responsible for sports injuries. They might have to pay if they're using broken equipment or not watching kids properly. Also, the school could be at fault if a coach intentionally hurts a student or if there's something wrong with the sports gear or place.

When should I see a doctor for my sports injury?

Visit a doctor for a sports injury if the pain is really bad, there's swelling or a weird shape, you can't pucan'tght on it, or if it feels numb or tingly. Some injuries might get better with rest, but these signs mean you should get checked out immediately.

What are the top 10 most common sports injuries?

Top 10 sports injuries include ankle sprains, muscle strains (hamstrings, groins, calves), knee injuries (A.C.L., meniscus tears), shoulder problems (rotator cuff, dislocations), concussions, shin splints, tennis elbow, back pain, bone fractures, and joint dislocations (shoulders, fingers).

How do injuries affect athletes mentally?

Sports injuries can hurt an athlete'athlete'soo. They might fear getting hurt again, feel upset about missing out, and feel alone on their team. This can cause worry, sadness, loss of drive to play, and feeling disconnected from friends and the sport.

What is an acute injury?

An acute injury happens suddenly, like during sports or accidents. It's like a quick, sharp hit causing pain, swelling, or making it hard to move. Examples are sprains, broken bones, or pulled muscles. Unlike slow-developing chronic injuries, they need fast attention and rest to heal properly. Always get a doctor for these injuries.

Final Thoughts

To manage sports injuries effectively:

  1. Use a varied approach.
  2. Start with basics like RICE. and add heat, cold, compression, and exercise.
  3. Explore advanced options like regenerative medicine and surgery for serious sports injuries.
  4. Don’t forget holistic methods like acupuncture and yoga for all-around care. 

Always seek professional advice and tailor treatments for the best recovery. This way, athletes can heal fully and return to their sport safely.

Read next: What Is Sports Psychology?

Resources and references:

  1. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, (NIH), “Sports Injuries”
  2. PubMed Central, Springer, Indian Journal of Orthopaedics, Himmat Dhillon, et al, 2017, “Current Concepts in Sports Injury Rehabilitation”
  3. PubMed Central, Journal of Athletic Training, Michel P.J van den Bekerom, et al., 2012, “What Is the Evidence for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation Therapy in the Treatment of Ankle Sprains in Adults?”
  4. PubMed Central, Sports Health, William Kraemer, et al., 2009. “Recovery From Injury in Sport”
  5. The Sports Journal, Domenic Scialoia & Adam J. Swartzendruber, “The R.I.C.E Protocol is a MYTH: A Review and Recommendations”
  6. Frontiers, Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation, Pascal Edouard and Kevin R. Ford, 2020, “Great Challenges Toward Sports Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation”
  7. The Pharmaceutical Journal, Trudy Thomas, et al., 2016, “Advising patients on prevention and management of sporting injuries in the pharmacy”