Sports injuries can come in many forms. Acute injuries include breaks and fractures or a slipped disk. 'Use injuries' are a result of overuse or misuse of a particular muscle, joint or ligament. An example of this type of sports injury would be ‘tennis elbow’.
If you’ve ever suffered a knee injury or an ankle sprain, you are probably familiar with the RICE treatment – “rest, ice, compression, and elevation”. This prevents excess swelling and inflammation of the area to minimise pain and restore mobility. It is a good first step, but there are plenty of other considerations to take. Also remember, without inflammation, healing may not occur. So it is good not to suppress the symptoms for too long. With this in mind, cooling the surrounding area, a lack of movement, and anti-inflammatory medication could slow or inhibit healing.
In sports injuries, it is recommended that the first 48-72 hours are vital in letting the natural inflammatory process run its course. This will ultimately speed up your recovery, avoid nerve damage and give you a better chance at completely healing the area. This period of 48-72 hours is known as “The Inflammatory Stage”.
The next stage of healing: “The Repair Stage”, occurs for several months after the initial inflammation has subsided. The body is now in a process of fully rebuilding damaged tissue. At this time, movement and rehabilitation are key to stimulating the area of the injury.
The final stage is known as “The Maturation Stage”, in the following weeks and months of repair. During this period, the maturation of new tissue means the area of the injury is becoming strong enough to reach your physical demands. This process is often helped along with the guidance of a physio.
Therapies which help sports injuries:
Acupuncture for a sports injury increases blood flow to the injured area and assists in the drainage of the inflammatory materials from damaged tissue.
Chiropractic Care offers many holistic benefits to sports injury recovery. Different chiropractic techniques and spinal manipulation can be used to treat the underlying cause of the injury and the painful symptoms.
Bowen Technique is very gentle and restorative. The Bowen Technique is becoming increasingly recognised as a valuable therapy in the treatment of sports-related injuries. It is often described as being similar to acupuncture but without the use of needles. No manipulation or adjustment of hard tissue takes place. Bowen Therapy affects the meridian system of a person (the energy system). During treatment at our Wilmslow clinic, the meridian channels are opened to allow the body to heal itself. Bowen affects the body on many levels including the fascia (covering the whole body under the skin) and balancing the nervous system. As a rule Bowen shouldn't be combined with other treatments. The Bowen Technique continues working after treatment for up to 10 days. Talk to us about our Bowen treatment therapy offerings today.
Dietary and supplement advice:
Appropriate nutrition is essential for effective improvement of athletic performance and avoidance of injury[i].
Plenty of Protein: When you suffer a sports injury and use a muscle or collection of muscles less, they will inevitably reduce muscle mass. Protein as a nutrient is vital to reinforce your body’s muscle tissue. The obvious choices include meat and fish, but also try to get plenty of plant-based protein to ensure variety, such as beans, tofu, and nuts. Try Sports Multi (60 caps) and Warrior Blend Protein Chocolate.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties, which help to reduce pain and swelling. Vitamin C assists the body in making collagen, which improves the body’s ability to maintain bone, muscle and tendons. Get vitamin C from foods such as red bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, and kiwi. It is also a good idea to get vitamin C in greater amounts via supplementation to ensure you are hitting your daily intake required for optimal tissue repair. Try Liposomal Vitamin C Liquid 120ml.
Zinc: This nutrient is also instrumental in helping to heal tissue. Zinc is associated with wound healing due to its role in collagen synthesis and cell reproduction[iii]. Good examples of zinc-rich foods include meat, fish, shellfish, and whole grains. It is also a good idea to supplement zinc when recovering from an injury. Try Zinc 30mg.
Calcium plays a very important role in helping to heal broken bones and helping muscles contract properly. Get calcium from foods such as include broccoli, almonds, okra, and dairy products. Vitamin D enhances the body’s ability to absorb and process calcium, these combined nutrients can help to prevent sports injuries in children. Try High Potency Calcium & Vitamin D3 (90 caps).
Omega 3 supplements may help to reduce inflammation and promote wound healing. Including omega-3-rich foods, such as oily fish, walnuts, rapeseed oil, chia seeds and ground flaxseed is also likely to help the healing process. Omega 3 can also improve the release of growth hormone, improve recovery and enhance aerobic metabolism and increase energy and stamina[ii]. Try Life & Soul Omega 3 Fish Oil Liquid (150ml).
[i] Aoi W, Naito Y, Yoshikawa T (2006) Exercise and functional foods Nutrition Journal, 5:15
[ii] Bean, A. (2009) The Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition, 6th Ed., A&C Black Publishers ltd, London, UK.
[iii] Lin PH, Sermersheim M, Li H, Lee PHU, Steinberg SM, Ma J. Zinc in Wound Healing Modulation. Nutrients. 2017 Dec 24;10(1):16.
Laumonier T, Menetrey J. Muscle injuries and strategies for improving their repair. J Exp Orthop. 2016 Dec;3(1):15
Järvinen TA, Järvinen M, Kalimo H. Regeneration of injured skeletal muscle after the injury. Muscles Ligaments Tendons J. 2014 Feb 24;3(4):337-45.
Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.