If you’re suffering from a sports injury, don’t let these common misconceptions hold you back from a full recovery.
Many athletes are exposed to inaccurate information about what it takes to recover from a sports injury. Unfortunately, these myths may not only compound a severe injury, but delay the healing process, as well.
As orthopedic specialists, part of our job is to dispel these misconceptions so our patients can get back in the game. Here are five of the most common myths regarding sports injuries — followed by helpful tips for recovery.
1. You Can Train Through the Pain
The “no pain, no gain” mantra actually does more harm than good. The purpose of exercise is to strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and build endurance, so you should expect to feel tired and a bit sore after a run or strenuous workout. But if the pain is severe, persistent, or follows a sudden trauma such as a blow to the body or a nasty fall, then you should take a break and seek treatment.
2. Rest Will Cure the Injury
While it’s recommended that you give yourself time between workouts to heal from minor soreness, stopping all activities will not cure a significant orthopedic injury. Rather, low-impact exercise gives the injured muscles and tissues the restorative blood flow they need. A physical therapist can guide you through exercises that work the muscles without causing further pain.
3. Strength Will Prevent Injuries
Strength conditioning is an important element of a well-rounded exercise routine. Strong muscles allow you to perform resistance exercises such as weight lifting, jumping, and running. On the other hand, merely strengthening your muscles will not prevent an injury. You could still rupture a muscle or tendon if you work out when you’re tired or dehydrated. Ideally, strengthening exercises should be done every other day in slow, steady repetitions that gradually build strength.
4. Stretching Will Prevent Injuries
You’ve probably been told it’s essential to stretch before a workout. Of course, warming up prior to vigorous activity primes the muscles for a demanding workout. But, as with strengthening exercises, stretching muscles will not prevent an injury. In fact, stretching a severely strained muscle without giving it proper time to heal could worsen the strain. Instead of intensive stretching, you should warm up by doing less strenuous versions of the exercise — a light jog or a few slow-motion practice swings with a baseball bat or tennis racket. With these dynamic movements, you can gently stretch your muscles and prepare for your workout.
5. Heat is the Best Treatment
When muscles and joints are injured, blood surges to the area, causing swelling. Applying heat will only increase blood flow, and therefore make the swelling even worse. Conversely, icing the area brings down the swelling and lessens the pain. In certain instances, heat therapy may be used, but always check with your doctor before putting a heating pad on the injured area.
Let Us Help You Heal
At New York Bone & Joint, we’ve treated all types of orthopedic injuries. Whether major or minor, our doctors and physical therapists will advise you on the most suitable therapy to mend your sports injury. We’re here to answer all of your questions and ensure that you receive the most accurate information to make a knowledgeable decision. Contact our office today for an appointment.