Guidelines for Sports Injury Care

Sports Injury Care Ooltewah, TN

Guidelines for sports injury care are similar to those for any other injury in that what a patient needs to do depends on the severity of the injury and their personal health circumstances. When in doubt, a professional evaluation is advised. This guide provides an overview of sports injury care, what to do at home, and when to seek medical assistance.

The Ultimate Guide to Sports Injury Care

About sports injuries

Almost anyone who plays a sport or participates in some form of athletic activity has probably experienced some form of sports injury. It is important to know what to do in order to recover, prevent further injury, and get back to participating in the activities one enjoys. Sports injuries can be acute or chronic and range from severe injuries, such as broken bones and concussions, to minor injuries, such as bruises and strains.

When to seek immediate attention

When dealing with a serious injury like a concussion or broken bone, a patient should seek immediate medical attention. If the injury appears to threaten life or limb, it is a medical emergency, and the patient should seek care in a hospital emergency room. However, an urgent care facility can offer immediate assistance for less severe injuries that are not life-threatening but still call for prompt medical intervention.

RICE protocol

When injured during physical activity, the first thing to do is to stop the activity to avoid causing more harm. If the patient has no symptoms indicating the injury is serious, it is probably safe to start with home treatment. The acronym RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) refers to a commonly recommended protocol for sports injury care at home during the first 24 to 72 hours after an injury. RICE involves the following:


Rest can mean anything from complete rest to simply avoiding the activity that caused the injury. For example, if the injury is in the ankle, avoid walking on or putting weight on that ankle. Protect the injured area from contact, like hitting objects or hard surfaces.


If used correctly, ice can reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation of the injured area. We recommend putting an ice or cold pack on the area for roughly 15 to 20 minutes every four hours. Avoid placing the ice directly on the skin by placing a towel between the ice or cold source and the skin. Be sure not to exceed 20 minutes, as prolonged ice exposure may result in tissue damage.


Placing the right amount of pressure on the injured limb or area can help with swelling. An elastic bandage such as an Ace™ bandage can provide support and reduce swelling. It is important to ensure the bandage is not too tight that it hurts or restricts blood circulation. Make sure the bandage does not cause numbness, tingling, or redness.


Keeping the injured area or limb elevated keeps too much fluid from pooling in the injured limb. Elevation will not only help reduce pain but also control swelling. Keep the injured limb elevated above the heart level.

In addition to the RICE protocol, taking NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as naproxen and ibuprofen, can help with pain, inflammation, and swelling.

When to seek a medical professional

Home care does not always resolve a sports injury adequately, and knowing when to seek medical assistance is important. According to the Cleveland Clinic, patients should seek medical attention for a sports injury if any of the following apply:

  • Pain impedes movement or and does not improve over time
  • Excessive swelling that does not slowly decrease
  • Extreme bruising or bleeding
  • The patient is unable to use the injured area
  • There is an obvious deformity, such as the leg bending in the wrong directions

Finally, when in doubt or unsure how to wrap or attend to an injury, seek the advice of a medical professional. Taking a chance and trying to treat an injury on your own when you are unsure can do more harm than good and even lead to permanent damage or a more serious injury.

Healing sports-related injuries

Do not take a chance with your future physical fitness and abilities. Sometimes, seemingly minor injuries can be more serious than first thought. When in doubt, get evaluated by a sports medicine professional. The team at Spine & Joint Regenerative Medicine is dedicated to helping people recover from injuries and return to doing what they love. Call today to learn more about sports injury care.

Request an appointment here: or call Spine & Joint Regenerative Medicine at (423) 424-1529 for an appointment in our Ooltewah office.

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