MARRC

Bumps, Bruises, Strains, & Sprains

by Jeannie Dalmas

Everybody has had one. Everybody will get another one. So what are they? So what can you do to help reduce them? Exercise, participate in a sport? But exercising and playing sports can cause them. It’s a Catch 22. The irony of it all. So why read this? So you can take care of yourself, your racer, and your pit mates.

BUMPS/BRUISES A bruise (contusion) is an injury that causes bleeding into or beneath the skin, but it does not break the skin.

The primary symptoms are pain, tenderness, swelling, and discoloration. At first, the injured area is red due to local irritation; as time passes the characteristic “black and blue” (echymosis) mark appears. Several days after the injury, the skin becomes yellow or green in color. Bruises are not permanent and will fade.

To reduce bruising caused by a trauma try RICE.

STRAINS A strain is an injury caused by the forcible over-stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon. They are caused by any action that pulls and stretches the muscles beyond their normal limits.

The primary symptoms are pain, lameness, stiffness, swelling, and discoloration.

After a day or two of RICE then apply warm compresses to increase circulation. If the pain or swelling does not decrease and you are unable to move the affected muscle, seek professional medical attention.

When the pain subsides, start activity slowly and in moderation.

SPRAINS A sprain is an injury to a joint ligament or a muscle tendon in the region of a joint. It involves the partial tearing or stretching of these structures, injuries to blood vessels, and contusions of the surrounding soft tissue without dislocation or fracture. Sprains are caused by the violent pulling or twisting of the joint beyond its normal range of motion. The joints that are most frequently sprained are the ankle, wrist, knee, and finger. Tearing of the ligaments is the most serious aspect of the sprain, and there is a considerable amount of damage to the blood vessels. When the blood vessels are damaged, blood may escape into the joint, causing pain and swelling.

Primary symptoms are muscle or joint pain upon motion, impaired joint function, swelling, and discoloration.

After a day or two of RICE then apply warm compresses to increase circulation. If the pain or swelling does not decrease and you are unable to move the affected joint, seek professional medical attention.

To prevent sprains stretching, and proper strapping or taping prior to participation in athletic activities can help.

R.I.C.E. for Minor Injuries

Exercise and sports are good for your health, but can raise your risk for sprained joint, strained muscles, and other minor injuries. Proper care in the first day or two after injury can reduce the time you are sidelined by it.

Should you suffer a sprain, strain, or other muscle or joint injury, treat it with RICE - rest, ice, compression, and elevation. RICE can relieve pain, limit swelling, and protect the injured tissue, all of which help to speed healing.