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Inspired by summer sports? What to do with sprains and strains

With televised sport looking likely to return to our screens, you may be inspired to take up a new sport or leisure activity.  But NHS Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group is warning people to take a few simple steps to avoid a sprain or strain.

We all know that exercise has many health benefits.  It can help you live longer and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by up to 50%.  But if you haven’t exercised in a while you should take things gently to start with.  Most sports injuries happen because a person does too much too quickly, isn’t properly prepared or uses poor techniques.

So how do you avoid injury and still get the daily exercise you need to lead a healthy lifestyle?  Well, here are a few simple things that can help.

When you start a new sport or exercise for the first time your muscles aren’t used to the physical stresses involved which can lead to sprains and strains.  So, make sure you start slowly and gradually build up your activity over time.

It helps to wear footwear that supports and protects your feet and ankles, and is appropriate for the type of activity you’re doing.  Always make sure your footwear is in good condition and avoid running or walking on uneven surfaces if possible.

Signs of a sprain or strain can include pain, swelling, bruising and tenderness around a joint or in a muscle. You may also find it difficult to move the affected body part.

Most sprains and strains are relatively minor and can be treated at home with self-care techniques.  Your local pharmacy can advise you on a range of over the counter medicines which are usually cheaper than a prescription from your GP.

Remember soft tissue injuries can take up to four weeks to heal so it’s important to be patient.  If the symptoms haven’t improved you can call NHS111 – available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or visit NHS111 online.  They can offer advice about what to do or where to go.  All you have to do is dial 111 to talk to the NHS.

For more information about treating sports injuries, visit www.nhs.uk

Published 04/09/2020