Apr 10, 2012
As the weather warms up, people start filling the courts, fields, greens and trails looking to get back in shape and practice their game. However, this also means there are plenty of opportunities for cuts and bruises, ankle sprains, muscle strains, and knee injuries, to name a few.
Dr. William Levine, chief of sports medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, recommends R.I.C.E., a first-aid technique that can be applied to most sprains, strains and joint injuries.
- Rest: If you are injured during any activity, stop the activity immediately and rest the injured area. Do not try to work through the pain.
- Ice: For the first 24 to 48 hours apply ice packs to the injured area every two hours for 15 minutes. Make sure that the ice is not in direct contact with the skin; a cotton handkerchief covering is helpful.
- Compress: Bandage the area firmly, extending the wrapping above and below the injury. This pressure will stop any bleeding and reduce any swelling of the injured area.
- Elevate: Whenever possible, elevate the injured area above the level of your heart. Elevation and compression are typically used for acute injuries such as a twisted ankle.
Once an injury has occurred you should always consult a physician to ensure proper rehabilitation. However, prevention is always better than cure. Dr. Levine offers these simple tips for preventing sports injuries:
- Start slow. You are probably not in the same condition that you were last summer; new activities require muscles and joints to respond in new ways. This may result in minor soreness that could develop into something more serious if you push yourself too hard.
- Warm up. Get your blood pumping to those under used muscles and joints before you begin, and do some gentle stretching once you are done. This will help you retain and improve flexibility.
- Take breaks. Every so often it is recommended that you rest the body parts that are working hard and are susceptible to injury — even tennis pros rest between sets.
- Listen to your body.Don't ignore the little aches and pains you feel in your joints and muscles because they may help you prevent serious injuries.
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,353 beds. The Hospital has nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including more than 220,000 visits to its emergency departments — more than any other area hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. For more information, visit www.nyp.org.