????????If you enjoy playing sport there is nothing worse than an injury or more importantly, an injury that doesn’t get better quickly.

Tim Barnwell an APA Sports Physiotherapist at Southcare Physiotherapy says physiotherapists can diagnose and treat sports injuries to ensure a fast and effective recovery so that time off the field is limited.

“It is important to remember that the earlier a person seeks treatment on an injury the more likely they are to have a faster recovery,” says Mr Barnwell.

What should you do when an injury first occurs? The first step is to remember the acronym RICER.

• Rest – stop playing the sport and protect the injured body part.
• Ice – apply ice to the effected region for 10 to 15 minutes and then reapply two hours later. Do this for a maximum of 72 hours after the injury.
• Compression – if the injury has occurred to an arm or a leg apply compression around the area to minimise swelling.
• Elevation – elevate the effected region above the level of the heart to reduce the swelling.
• Refer – seek appropriate medical advice.

Mr Barnwell says whether you visit the emergency department or the physiotherapist will depend on the severity of the injury.

“For example, if a player twists his ankle at football and another player falls across his leg and there is a loud crack, this can lead to a number of different diagnoses,” says Mr Barnwell.

“If the player is unable to put weight on the leg and there is a large amount swelling, it might be a broken bone and a trip to the Emergency Department would be warranted.”

“However, if the player is able to walk but there is some pain and swelling then a trip to the physiotherapist would be a good idea.”

Overall, good early management of a sporting injury will lead to a better long term outcome and a swift return to the sporting field.

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