Once you have found your “why” and made the decision to begin your fitness journey, there are a few things that you should know. Becoming fit is a time-expensive process, and it is not without risks. You may become injured while trying to improve your health. How do you know when you should seek help, how are injuries usually managed, and what affects the healing process? How can you decrease your risk of even becoming injured? In the ensuing post, I will help you answer those questions; and be better prepared in the event of an injury.
An injury is defined as harm or hurt usually applied to damage inflicted to the body by an external force. Injuries are generally classified in two ways – acute and chronic. Acute injuries typically result from a single traumatic event, while chronic injuries have an insidious (or gradual) onset. Common acute injuries include: ankle sprains, ACL sprains, meniscal tears and fractures. Common chronic injuries include: plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, and stress fractures. Treatment should be sought if pain prevents you from doing your activities of daily living, or if there is evidence of dysfunction. You should also seek treatment if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Numbness or tingling in the affected area
- Skin feels cold or appears pale and blue, especially in the hands feet or toes
- There is obvious deformity present
- There is an open wound that is showing no signs of healing
- Pain that cannot be controlled with cryotherapy and OTC pain medication
- Pain or dysfunction resulting from a head injury
- Constant unrelenting pain, night pain, or unexplained weight loss secondary to injury
There are two ways injuries are usually managed, conservatively and surgically. Conservative management does not mean non-aggressive. Treatment can include oral medications, injections, physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic care etc. Surgical management is usually reserved for instances in which conservative management fails, or the injury is beyond the scope of conservative management alone. As a general rule of thumb, time frames for healing will vary based upon the individual, but injuries that require surgical intervention will require longer healing periods than injuries that are able to be treated conservatively.
While it is acknowledged that some injuries, such as those resulting from accidents, cannot be prevented, there are ways to decrease your risk of acute and chronic injuries.
- Having adequate range of motion
- Having appropriate strength for your age and gender
- Cross train (If you’re a runner, lift weights occasionally. If you play tennis recreationally, try bowling or golf. Vary the activity you are doing)
- Dress properly for your activity (proper shoes)
- Having chronic diseases/disease under control (COPD, diabetes, hypertension, significant osteoarthritis, etc.)
In essence, having a good level of fitness can help prevent injuries. Here at Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic our athletic trainers and physical therapists work closely with our physicians to help assist you on your fitness journey should an injury occur. While our Fitness specialists give you the tools to try and prevent injuries from occurring.
About Donald Anthony LAT, ATC:
Donald Anthony is a certified athletic trainer and work conditioning coordinator at Raleigh Orthopaedic. He is currently working on his Master’s of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of South Florida. He earned his Bachelors of Science Degree from Western Carolina University in 2014. Donald has interned and worked in several different settings before joining Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic in 2014, most notably with the Carolina Panthers, and Orthopedic Specialists of North Carolina. Donald enjoys CrossFit, cooking, traveling, and spending time with his Dobrador, Dez.