It’s not uncommon for athletes who play hard to wind up getting some type of injury. An average of 8.6 million injuries occurs as a result of sports and recreational activities each year. This includes both adults and adolescents who partake in competitive sports.
If an injury does occur, there are certain techniques to help with healing. These methods result in a smoother and more effective recovery process.
Read on for the 5 best tips to heal faster after getting a sports-related injury.
1. Follow the Doctor’s Orders
If the injury is serious enough, the first step in proper recovery is to visit a health professional. Putting this off will only cause the injury to get worse. This way, a doctor can determine how deep the injury is and if there are any broken bones or muscle tears.
Injured athletes should always follow the doctor’s orders for recovery. It’s important to take enough time to let your body heal after an injury. Ignoring this advice could result in a more permanent injury.
The doctor may recommend applying a topical cream for surface wounds. They will likely tell you to wear compression bandages and keep the area well cared for. This is key for protecting any sutures and avoiding infection.
You’ll likely need to elevate the wounded area as you recover. A supportive brace can also help protect you during the healing process. Always get the doctor’s permission before trying light exercise.
Downtime is essential for a full recovery. So, be sure you’re getting plenty of rest, aiming for about 8 hours of sleep each night.
As you sleep, your body produces growth hormones. These work to stimulate tissue growth and recharge your energy levels.
Depending on the injury, a doctor may recommend physical therapy. This will help to improve your flexibility, strength, and range of motion. It can result in a quicker and more effective recovery process.
2. Focus on What You’re Eating and Drinking
The right foods can help to speed up your recovery process. Lean proteins are essential to help rebuild muscles and heal injuries.
Eating a high-protein meal before bedtime can help you recover even quicker. The process of protein synthesis happens as you sleep at night. This works to rebuild muscles and strength, healing your injury faster.
Anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables are also important for recovery. Fill up on olive oil, tomatoes, salmon, and leafy greens.
Foods high in antioxidants will support the immune system and repair cell damage. These foods include berries, nuts, sweet potatoes, and dark chocolate. Greens like kale and spinach also provide a hearty dose of antioxidants.
Hydration is also key to a faster recovery period. Be sure you’re drinking plenty of water to flush out toxins and support your body’s systems.
3. Use Hot and Cold Packs
Applying different temperatures to the injured area can help you heal quickly. This therapeutic technique reduces swelling and inflammation.
It can also target pain for deeper injuries, like strains, sprains, and muscle tears. Alternating between the two temperatures is effective in controlling inflammation.
Icing the area is often the first step in healing your injury. Cold temperatures work to help bring swelling down right after an injury occurs. Compression techniques will help with this as well.
Cold packs and ice also help to stop any bleeding. Start by icing the area for about 30 minutes at a time. Then repeat this 6 times a day or as the doctor suggests.
Hot temperatures work to soothe the area and promote blood circulation. Using heated packs will stimulate the healing process. You can also try soaking in a tub to relieve non-surface injuries.
4. Take OTC Medications and Supplements
Certain medications and supplements can aid in injury recovery. Ibuprofen helps to reduce inflammation while relieving injury pain.
Taking it before bedtime can help you feel more comfortable. This way you can get a better night’s rest and heal quicker.
Some supplements work to fight inflammation in the body. These include spirulina, turmeric, ginger, and fish oil. Vitamin C supplements contain antioxidants to aid in muscle recovery.
Diets lacking in nutrient-dense foods can make up for this with superfood supplements. A daily greens powder can also provide the right nutrients for a speedy recovery. You can also try juicing to bring more superfoods into your diet.
5. Ease Back into It
After an athletes injury, it’s common to lose muscle strength and flexibility. This is due to all the downtime that needs to happen when recovering from an injury.
It’s important to work slowly to regain your strength back. Overdoing it will only worsen your condition or create a new injury.
Always wait until you’re healed enough to resume physical activities. It’s essential for your health not to rush back into the sport. Your doctor may recommend some type of rehabilitation program for a safer recovery.
It’s best to begin with lower impact workouts, like brisk walking, swimming, or yoga. Boosting your balance and flexibility will help reduce the risk of future injuries.
Meditation and breathing exercises can be effective in the recovery process. An injury can bring about an emotional time for an athlete. These mindful techniques can help reduce stress levels.
Resistance bands are another great exercise for those recovering from an injury. Start on the lowest possible resistance and work your way back up.
Massage techniques and acupressure are other helpful recovery methods. There are also certain stretches you can do to get muscles and ligaments working again. Here is a helpful resource on stretching techniques to help you heal faster.
You want to be sure to always warm-up and cool down after exercises. This is to help prevent further injuries from occurring.
Effective Ways to Heal Faster After a Sports Injury
These 5 tips will help your injury heal faster and more effectively. It’s essential to listen to your healthcare provider for proper recovery. A slow and steady recovery process is best for your health and wellbeing. Looking for more helpful tips on maintaining your active lifestyle? Check out the health section of our blog for more advice.