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Injured during sport

Take the right action immediately

Now that summer is here, many people want to use the new freedom and go full speed ahead in sport. There is a great danger of overexerting or injuring oneself by a wrong move. What helps in this case?
Marta Campbell
12.07.2021  08:30 Uhr

In the case of all acute painful injuries such as bruises, sprains or twisted ankles the PECH rule should be applied. These initial letters stand for the following measures: take a break, apply ice, use a compression and prop-up the legs. To continue training while in pain usually makes the problem worse. Therefore, the first measure should always be to stop the activity and immobilise the injured body part. A cold compress is used for cooling. It should only be applied to closed injuries and not directly to the skin as there can be a risk of frostbite. When on the road, a cooling gel (such as Dolobene® Cool, WEPA® Kühlgel) or a cold spray (such as EisSpray ratiopharm®, Allgäuer Latschenkiefer® Mobil Eisspray akut or Chloraethyl Dr. Henning®) are suitable; in an emergency, a wet cloth can serve as a substitute. A good tip is to have instant cold pads (such as WEPA® Disposable Cold Instant Compress) in every sports bag. If the compress is pressed, an inner bag filled with water will burst. The water mixes with a cooling granulate, thereby dissolving it. The endothermic reaction will cool down the pad.

When suffering sports injuries, it is also useful to apply a tight bandage. It prevents swelling and bleeding from spreading. An ointment bandage is a good choice (not for open wounds!) First apply a thin layer of pain-relief gel and then put on the bandage. Keeping the affected part of the body elevated will improve the return flow of blood. The fluid that has leaked into the tissue is removed more quickly and the tissue does not swell as much.

Rest is important

After immediate treatment, patients should continue to take it easy. A high-dose heparin ointment (such as Heparin-ratiopharm® Sport-Gel) is suitable to accelerate the healing of haematomas. Ointments and gels with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents such as diclofenac and ibuprofen help against the pain. A patch containing ibuprofen or diclofenac can also provide relief. Topical NSAIDs are generally well tolerated. Many patients find that ointments and gels alone by massaging them in have a soothing and relaxing effect. However, the pharmacy team should point out that there may be possible local side effects such as skin irritations.

Also orally applied NSAIDs, reliably relieve pain in muscles and joints. However, systemic absorption of the active ingredients can cause more side effects, such as gastrointestinal and cardiovascular risks. Under no circumstances should athletes take them in order to be able to continue training despite an injury. »Pain is a body’s warning signal and must be checked,« says Löllgen. »If you train into the pain, you may make the injury worse. Moreover, systemic side effects, for example on the kidneys and gastrointestinal tract, must be taken into consideration when using oral NSAIDs frequently.«

To be on the safe side, those affected should consult a doctor in case of severe pain or considerably limited mobility in order to prevent consequential damage and to have serious injuries such as a broken bone or torn ligament quickly treated adequately. Even if the same problems occur again and again, a visit to the doctor’s surgery is recommended.

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