Accidents on the trail can happen – here are quick tips on how to treat them.
Injuries from overuse can happen gradually, over a period of time. It is rare that an injury will occur in the middle of a workout—out on the trail, in the middle of a strength training exercise—however, you do need to be prepared. Soft tissue injuries such as sprains, pulls and bruises should be tended to immediately.
Tweaks on the Trail – How to Assess if it is Serious
Ask yourself or your client these questions:
1. Is there pain? Dull or sharp?
2. Is there redness or swelling?
3. Is the injured side different from the other side?
4. Is there warmth? This could be a signal for inflammation.
5. Can you move it? If not, can you stand on it or move it through range-of-motion?
If an injury has been identified, or if you are not really sure, stop the activity immediately and seek medical assistance. You can also try the RICER method. RICER stands for: rest, ice, compression, elevation,. RICER is also an appropriate treatment for many injuries brought about by overuse. If you’re unsure about how to treat your injury, don’t try to go it alone. Ask your doctor’s advice.
The RICER METHOD
➢ R – Rest — Slows down any bleeding and reduces the risk of further damage
➢ I – Ice — Eases pain, reduces initial bleeding and later encourages blood flow
➢ C – Compression — Reduces bleeding and swelling
➢ E – Elevation — Reduces bleeding/swelling by allowing fluids to flow away from the injury
➢ R – Referral — If you’re concerned about severe injury, or if pain and swelling does not improve over 48 hours, seek medical help
The First 24-72 Hours
In the first 24 hours after an injury, you should avoid applying heat to the affected area. Heat causes swelling and further inflammation. This includes showers, baths and saunas. Don’t drink alcohol either: drinking can mask the pain and severity of an injury, as well as increasing bleeding and swelling. Avoid deep tissue massage for at least 72 hours after injury. And don’t skimp on your rest: 72 hours is a general rule for returning to exercise after injury, unless you’ve received the OK from your doctor to resume activity sooner.
• Ice must never be applied directly to the skin. If you don’t have a cloth covered ice pack, wrap your ice pack in a towel to prevent burns.
• Apply ice for about 15 minutes over 2 hours. This will vary depending on the size of the area and the depth of the damaged tissue. This can be reduced gradually over the next 24 hours.