Life as we know it has changed, maybe forever. Much of what was taken for granted not long ago now seems like just a memory of the past. For many, this includes such simple things as working out in the gym. The regular routine of grabbing your gym bag and heading out for a good fitness session has been replaced by figuring out how to get an effective workout at home.
Staying in shape is critical in these times of additional stress and uncertainty. There is a lot to be said for the convenience of working out at home. As people contemplate the relative cleanliness of the home environment as compared to the germ-infested spaces of community workout areas, many are making the decision to stick with home fitness routines even when the local gym becomes available again.
In the interest of safety, it is wise to be prepared for any injuries that you may incur with your home workout. Most injuries sustained are minor, and treatment is simple. If you keep an ice pack, an elastic bandage and some over-the-counter pain relievers on hand, you should be able to handle the majority of injuries that could happen during your activity.
No Pain, No Gain?
For a lot of athletes, this has been the ongoing mantra; however, it does not fit all situations. There are common injuries that should be addressed appropriately and not ignored or minimized. For many of these injuries, it means resting the affected limb long enough for healing to take place.
Common injuries reported include:
- Ankle sprains – These are mainly the result of walking or running on uneven surfaces.
- Hip pain – When hip flexors are strained, muscle spasms cause swelling and bruising in the hip area. Zumba workouts can result in hip pain if not performed correctly, and running up hill can also lead to strained hip muscles.
- Rotator cuff strain – Incorrect form in lifting weights and other repetitive overhead motions can strain the rotator cuff, causing shoulder pain.
- Shin splints – Common for runners and joggers, shin splints can also happen to sedentary individuals who decide to become active and begin a walking routine.
When you strain or sprain a muscle, doctors advise being proactive rather than ignoring it and working through the pain. Even if you are able to withstand the pain, continuing to use those muscles can lead to further damage.
Caring for Your Injury
When it comes to muscle pains, minimizing the swelling, resting the injured limb and allowing time to heal are critical. The acronym R.I.C.E. helps people to remember how to care for minor sports injuries.
Rest the injured area. Sprained and strained muscles are at their weakest right after an injury. It is best to let those muscles rest for a few days and repair themselves.
Ice can be used to reduce swelling and discomfort. It is always good to keep an ice pack in the freezer just in case. If you do not have one, you can always use a bag of crushed ice or a bag of frozen vegetables.
Compress the injured area with an elastic bandage. When you wrap a sprain, do not pull the bandage too tight. You want it to be just tight enough to help with fluid drainage and prevent swelling. Too tight and you may experience increased pain.
Elevate the area to heart level if possible. This helps keep swelling down.
The first two or three days are important in giving the injury a good start toward healing. Our bodies have natural healing abilities, but we have to allow time and opportunity for those processes to work. This is why resting is important. Over-the-counter pain relievers will help with discomfort. Acetaminophen or aspirin are usually recommended. Ice is used for the first few days, but after that, you can use heat if it helps, or alternate between ice and heat.
Your injury should respond to home treatment in a few days. If it does not, or if the injury is severe, you need to seek medical help. Silicon Valley Orthopaedics provides treatment for a variety of sports-related injuries. Contact us when you have questions about injury or joint pain.