Protect yourself from injuries this winter
Playing sport and/or exercising in cold weather places extra demands on your body. A drop in your core body temperature of just 1°C causes your muscles to shiver, which can lead to low blood sugar levels and reduced sporting performance. It can also mean injuries.
Sprains and strains are common winter – related injuries as cold muscles, joints and tendons are more prone to injuries.
To reduce your risk of sprains and strains this winter, we recommend you thoroughly warm up, stretch and cool down. Warm up and stretch the specific muscle groups required for your sport/exercise and ensure you cool down once finished, as this is an important injury prevention strategy. See one of our physiotherapists to help you devise warm up, stretching and cool down routines appropriate to your sport/exercise and AVOID sprains and strains this winter.
If, however, you do fall victim to a sprain and/or strain, we recommend the following immediate treatment:
- Stop your activity
- Rest the injured area
- Use ice packs every two hours, applied for 15 minutes, separated from the skin by wet towelling
- Compress or bandage the injured site firmly, extending the wrapping from below to above the injury
- Elevate the injured area above heart height whenever practical
- Avoid exercise, heat, alcohol and massage, which can exacerbate swelling
If the pain and swelling does not subside after a couple of days, seek our help to promote rapid recovery. Your physiotherapist may prescribe:
- exercises to encourage healing, strength and flexibility
- manual techniques, such as mobilisation and massage
- a progressive functional program to return to activity, or
- ongoing treatment and supervision of return to sport
Why you should warm up
- raises your heart rate to prepare your body for physical exertion
- speeds up nerve impulses so that your reflexes are enhanced
- reduces muscle tension
- sends oxygenated blood to your muscle groups
- reduces your risk of injury, particularly to connective tissue like tendons
- increases your flexibility and joint mobility
Why YOU should cool down
- helps to gently return your heart rate, breathing and blood pressure to normal
- improves your flexibility
- reduces your risk of injury
- removes waste products from muscle tissue
- helps reduce your risk of soreness
For further information on how to prevent and treat sprains and strains this winter, consult one of our physiotherapists.
Winter Injuries Perth CBD | Central City Physiotherapy | (08) 9421 1733
Source: Knudtson M, Klein R, Klein B. Physical activity and the 15-year cumulative incidence of age-related macular degeneration: The Beaver Dam eye study. British Journal of Ophthalmology, October 2006;90 (10):1461-1463.