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Injury Tips

Don't let an injury keep you out of the game! Visit us at Shawnee Mission Medical Center Sports Care and get off the bench and back in the game.

Here is some straight-forward advice on how to care for common injuries that occur in the active individual. These steps can be used for aches and pains after a sporting event, or after minor sprains or strains. If pain and discomfort last more then 48 hours, please consult a health care professional.


Basic care of an injury

R= Rest
Resting an injured area is necessary to allow the body time to get the effects of the trauma under control and avoid additional injury. The amount of time depends on the extent of the injury.

Ice applied promptly to an injury can slow down or minimize some of the inflammation. Examples include applying an ice bag for 15-20 minutes, or an ice massage for 7-10 minutes.

Compression is the application of an Ace Bandage or similar item around the injured area. Any wrap applied should be snug, but not tight enough to cause numbness or discoloration.

Raise the injured area above the level of the heart as much as possible to help control swelling.

Emergency Actions Plans
Do you know what to do in case of an athletic injury emergency? The first step is to establish an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) before the first practice or tryout takes place. An EAP consists of an organized way to deal with an emergency situation when it arises. It starts with who will be responsible for contact numbers for each athlete, and who will make the call to 911. It also outlines who will give first aid to the injured athlete, and identifies where emergency supplies and equipment are located. This includes having ice or ice packs at every practice, as well as identifying if there is an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on site.

By having an EAP, it ensures that all the necessary steps are taken when an injury occurs. We encourage all coaches at any level to takes a few minutes and develop an EAP. Here are a few guidelines to create an EAP:
  • Have the EAP written out so everyone understands their role
  • Practice the EAP to ensure it works
  • Make sure all key parties have a copy.
For more information, call SportsCare at 913-676-7778.

Sprains vs. Strains
Sprains, Strains, and Contusions: What is the difference?
Adapted from NATA by Matt Humpert, ATC

The majority of injuries suffered by athletes of any age are considered soft-tissue injuries. The three most common types of soft tissue injuries are sprains, strains, and contusions. A sprain results from the over-stretching or tearing of the joint capsule or ligament of a joint. Ligaments are the connective tissue that connects bone to bone. The joint capsule is similar to a ligament and surrounds the joint. The most common joints to suffer a sprain are the knee and ankle joints. A strain, also referred to as a pulled muscle is a result of the overstretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon. Tendons are tissues that connect muscle to bone. Quadriceps and hamstring strains are fairly common in most sporting activities. Contusions, or bruises, are an injury to soft tissue or bone in which the skin is not broken. Blood vessels rupture and bleed into the tissue causing a discoloration. Contusions can occur almost anywhere on the body.

Symptoms for sprains and strains are very similar. They both include pain, muscle spasm, muscle weakness, swelling, and possibly a pop or cracking sensation or sound. The biggest determining factor between the two is the location of the injury, and the tissue involved. Sprains show symptoms around a joint, and strains are located within the muscles. A contusion will usually be blue or purple at first, then gradually fade to various shades of brown, yellow, and green as they rise to the surface of the skin.

Sprains are caused by a twisting or falling, and generally result in decreased stability of the joint. Strains can be acute from an excessive muscle contraction during lifting, or cutting sharp when the muscle is not fully warmed-up. It can also result in overuse by repetitive motion while not allowing the muscle time to recuperate. Strains will weaken the muscle groups in which they occur. Contusions occur when soft tissue is struck either by an object, or simply by hitting the ground.

The treatment initially for all three conditions is RICE - Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. If a sprain, strain or severe contusion is suspected, evaluation from a health care professional is recommended.

Cold, fatigue and immobilization reduce blood flow and lessen muscle elasticity, increasing the risk of strains and sprains. The best prevention is to warm up, and then stretch all the muscles involved in the upcoming practice, game, or workout. A full body warm-up, such as jogging for a few minutes increases blood flow and raises the temperature of large muscle groups. Wearing proper protective equipment for the sport being played is recommended to protect against contusions.

For more information, call SportsCare at 913-676-7778.

Shawnee Mission Medical Center
9100 West 74th Street
Shawnee Mission, Kansas 66204
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Prairie Star
23401 Prairie Star Parkway
Lenexa, Kansas 66227
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