By Lauren Duffy
I’m beginning to consider living the rest of my life in a bubble… my klutziness is getting out of control. Last night I hobbled into my Zumba class to attempt to teach with a messed up knee when one of my regular class participants laughed and said “Wow… you really get injured a lot, don’t you?” Yep. I, Lauren Duffy, am as klutzy as they come.
When you work in the world of exercise and fitness, injuries are somewhat expected. I have coworkers who have shin splints, stress fractures and pulled muscles from pushing their bodies so much. But I somehow manage to get injured three times as often as they do. While I wish I could blame my injuries on my active lifestyle, they’re all simply a result of my clumsiness. Over the course of the past two years I have busted my hand, arm, face, and now knee by simply walking and falling. #klutzstatus
But through my years of walking into walls, falling up the stairs, and tripping over absolutely nothing, I’ve learned how to self-heal injuries pretty well. These very basic healing methods I have learned can be used by the clumsy people, the active people, and the doomed (the clumsy and active) people with injuries, so I figured I would share some of the simple stuff.
Let me start off by saying: if you are injured, see a doctor! If it’s excruciating pain, go immediately; if not, wait it out a couple of days and see how you feel. When I was younger I walked around with an injured arm for two weeks waiting for it to naturally get better before I finally decided to go to a doctor. It was broken. Oops! So please see a doctor if pain lasts and these methods are not very helpful.
Whether you have an injury from exercising, playing a sport, or doing something clumsy, the best way to treat an injury like a sprain, a pulled muscle, or a shin splint is to use the R-I-C-E method:
R – Rest!
While skipping a workout is not ideal, resting can prevent further injury so you won’t have to miss any more workouts. Also, giving your body a chance to rest can reduce pain and swelling.
I – Ice!
For the first two days after your injury, be sure to ice it! You want to ice for 15 to 20 minutes, then wait two hours and do it again. Be sure to avoid skin damage by wrapping the ice in a thin towel, and stop icing when the skin is numb (even if it hasn’t been the full 15-20 minutes). This will prevent swelling and bruising and can relieve the pain a bit. Some believe that putting heat on a small injury is helpful, but that is a common misconception. Heat should only be used on chronic injuries while ice should be used for minor ones.
C – Compression!
Using compression along with ice on an injury is very helpful if you want to avoid too much swelling. You can either use a bandage wrap or purchase a brace from a pharmacy that is designed to compress the area of the body that you’ve hurt. You just want to make sure that you’re not cutting off your circulation. I’ve found that compression also reminds me that I have an injury so that I don’t forget about it and do something klutzy to hurt it even more.
E – Elevation!
Kick back and relax while you let your body heal! In doing so, try to elevate your injury (above the heart if you can) to reduce swelling and help drain the injury’s fluid.
Using the R-I-C-E methods can help heal your injury, prevent further injury, and help you feel better in general. Remember that Ibuprofen and Aspirin or another similar medicines can help reduce swelling and pain. Be sure not to push yourself too hard so that you can resume normal activity as soon as possible! Good luck and, if applicable, get well soon!