Whether you play sports as an adult or you encourage your child to play sports, you probably already know the many benefits you can enjoy. Sports can help you live a healthy life, plus, they’re just fun. The one big drawback is that you may get injured.

At Dr. Keppler & Associates, our experts have helped hundreds of patients get back to doing what they enjoy after a sports injury. Sometimes, though, you don’t know what to do in the immediate aftermath of an injury. In this post, we give you four essential steps to take right away.

1. Stop

Don’t even consider continuing to play — even if stopping means losing. It simply isn’t worth the risk of making your injury worse. So, the first thing you should do when you’re hurt is to stop playing. Even if you can’t tell if the pain you’re feeling is an injury or just a run-of-the-mill ache, you should stop. For example, if you’re enjoying your after work jog and notice a new pain in your foot, you should stop jogging. Similarly, if you’re playing tennis, hear a popping sound, and feel pain in your knee, stop playing.

2. Assess

Not all sports injuries are the same, and even a sprained ankle can vary significantly in severity. Once you stop playing, you should take some time to assess the situation. Are you dealing with a soft tissue injury? A potential fracture? A contusion or concussion? Understanding what is hurt is important as you decide what to do next. You may need emergency medical care, or you may need a bandage.

3. RICE protocol

Most people who play sports are  familiar with the RICE protocol, but let’s review:

R: rest

I: iceC: compress

E: elevate

Let’s say you have hurt your wrist. It’s swelling, and it’s painful to move. First, don’t do anything that requires you to move it. Then apply ice for 15-20 minutes at a time, three or four times per day. After that, use a compression bandage to hold your wrist still, and elevate it above your heart — pillows are helpful.

At this point, if you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, you may want to do so.

4. Seek medical care

Once you’ve taken those steps, you should schedule an appointment at Dr. Louis Keppler & Associates as soon as possible. Our experts can provide an accurate diagnosis of your injury and a treatment plan to help you heal as completely and as quickly as possible.

Even if your injury seems minor, you should seek care so that it doesn’t become a chronic issue. This happens sometimes with injuries such as a sprained ankle. You may think that your ankle is fully healed, return to your regular activities, and sprain it again in a short time, ending up with chronic ankle instability.

We want to help you continue to play your favorite sport for as long as you want. Sports provide mental and physical health benefits that improve your quality of life. Don’t let an injury keep you sidelined.

Schedule your appointment at Dr. Louis Keppler & Associates today.

 Dr. Keppler is a practicing surgeon and member of the following organizations:

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