So you’re in the gym, you’re working up a sweat and you’re proud of yourself for sticking to your New Year’s health plan – but then you somehow land at a funny angle and twist your limbs, and writhe in pain on the gym floor, much to the entertainment of fellow gym-goers. Is it a fracture? A sprain? Is it possible to have both? Here are our tips to best deal with muscle and bone injuries:
- Don’t move the injured person – if you suspect they have broken or fractured a bone, it is imperative that you do not move the person at all. Doing so would only damage the injury further and prevent proper healing.
- Apply pressure to the wound – With a clean bandage and cloth, apply pressure to the injury in order to stop any bleeding – but be humane. You don’t want to make matters worse, but you really want to minimise excessive blood loss.
- If you are unsure if it’s a fracture or just a muscle strain, here are some signs to look out for: with a fracture, there’s most likely going to be only a little pain at the moment of impact, swelling, and the injured area will look a bit deformed (all these factors may not take place together). You won’t be able to move it by yourself. However, with muscle damage that includes ligaments, tendons and others, the pain on impact and quickly following impact will be relatively much more.
- Remember – cold first, heat later. In the case of a major injury, apply an ice pack on the area for 20 minutes for two to three hours for the first couple of days. It’s better to keep heat away from the injury for the first 48 hours as it encourages bleeding. First, allow the injury to heal for a couple of days and then apply heat packs a few times a day as it recovers.