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Sports Medicine: Five tips to get you back in the game

When it comes to your health, you should stand by the motto “Better safe than sorry.” This is especially true when you’re dealing with an injury caused by exercise. After an injury, you probably want to get back to doing what you love immediately—but it could be detrimental to your recovery.

Be prepared by educating yourself or the athlete in your life about the appropriate steps to a successful recovery. It helps to be prepared in the event of an emergency. Here’s five tips to help get you back in the game following a sports injury:

1. Don’t wait to get care

If you think you’re in an emergency situation, don’t hesitate to call 911. Even if you’re unsure, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and make the call or visit a Rapid Care or walk-in clinic for evaluation. It could make a difference in your return to play. If your injury isn’t in need of immediate medical care, it’s still best to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or orthopedic specialist as soon as possible. A physician might detect something you didn’t notice about your injury.

2. Rest until you’re able to be seen by a physician

While you wait for your injury to be assessed, rest the affected part of your body. Whether you’re waiting in the ER, the Rapid Care Center or for an appointment with your physician, your injury can be very vulnerable to further damage if you aren’t careful. Even daily activities like standing, walking or lifting can perpetuate damage to a muscle or bone.

3. Follow your doctor’s orders

If you choose to see your primary care doctor, he or she may refer you to a specialist, provide you a prescription, send you to physical therapy or simply tell you to rest for a period of time. It’s important to follow instructions and not push too hard before you return to play. If you are interested in seeing an orthopedic specialist, ask your primary care doctor for a referral.

4. Make a follow-up appointment with your physician before returning to play.

It’s important to keep an open line of communication with your physician, especially when it comes to injuries. Be proactive about your own health and check in with him or her before returning to play. Voice any and all concerns—don’t hold back any lingering pain or symptoms. A complete recovery will help prevent future injuries or more specific conditions.

5. Keep your coach or trainer up-to-date on your recovery.

Once you get back in the game, you may still have some lingering symptoms. Your coach or trainer can help keep you on the path to recovery and help you with a brace or tape before training, practice or a game. He or she can also advise you on how to continue down a path to recovery while regaining your strength.

Find a partner in recovery

Columbia Memorial Health has a leading orthopedic practice to meet the needs of most sports injuries. Our experienced physicians, surgeons and physical therapists can treat virtually any sports-related injury to get you back in the game. Learn more about the Bone & Joint center, or Find-A-Doc here.

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