Occasionally, bruising is a symptom of more serious underlying disease. If you bruise very easily, or if your bruises take a long time to heal, consult your healthcare professional.
The most common types of sports injuries are:
- Bruising - caused by knocks and blows to the affected part
- Sprains and strains - caused by over-use, incorrect posture or movement action, and falls or jolts, causing the muscles and ligaments to be stressed unexpectedly; groin strain is one of the most common sports problems and may result from intense movement of the legs
- Dislocation - when bones separate and ligaments tear at a joint
- Fracture - these most commonly occur at the ankle, hand, wrist or collarbone; shin splints or stress fractures are tiny cracks that appear in the bones of the lower leg as a result of repeated impact, such as running on hard surfaces
- Lower-back injuries are very common in sports that require a great deal of bending up and down.
- The antioxidant nutrients vitamins A, C, and E and the mineral zinc are important for wound healing and helps reduce risk of cell damage from oxidation
- Citrus bioflavonoids extracts help improve capillary function reducing bruising
- Good first aid practices are the first step to treating and curing sports injuries. Always keep a first aid kit handy and replace items as they are used.
The initial response to most sports injuries should be RICE - rest, ice, compression and elevation. In some cases you should also consult your healthcare professional for further treatment.
Try a heat rub ointment containing capsaicin and oil of wintergreen to reduce discomfort from sprains and strains.
Life Style Factors
- Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and filtered water to assist your body's healing processes. Avoid alcohol, sugar and fatty foods.
- To relieve cramping, elevate the affected area to direct blood flow toward the heart. Gently stretching the muscle will usually stop a cramp.
- The most important aspect of recovery is to allow your body sufficient time to recover before recommencing your exercise program.
Consult your healthcare professional before starting any exercise program (especially if you are very overweight, have a heart or other medical condition, or you are over the age of 40).
Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every day, and ensure you are receiving plenty of potassium and magnesium by eating a well-balanced diet. Fruits such as apricots (especially dried), bananas and raisins contain high amounts of potassium, whilst nuts and soya beans are good sources of magnesium.
Warming up before starting your sports activity is vital to condition your muscles. This includes some slow walking, light rebounding, then stretching. You should take part in your chosen sport at least 3 to 4 times per week to maintain your fitness levels.
Injuries are more likely to occur when you are dehydrated. Always drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise, and consider an electrolyte replacement drink if you sweat heavily or suffer from muscle cramps. The minerals magnesium and potassium may also help to prevent muscle cramp.
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