Five pearls of first aid wisdom
ere are five key tips for preventing or treating the common injuries and ailments of everyday athletes. 1. The Blister Prevention Trick. For those who are prone to blisters, try wearing two pairs of socks with the inside pair turned inside-out. The fuzzy sides facing each other help reduce friction. Of course, well fitting shoes are a must. Second Skin and mole skin are good products to protect a blister that has already formed. 2. The Shoelace Trick. For a swollen sprained finger, wrap a shoelace snuggly from tip to hand and remove from tip to hand. Repeat this several times to reduce swelling and increase finger flexion range of motion. 3. Mouth guards. Mouth guards are an essential piece of equipment for contact sports. Oral/Dental injuries are painful and expensive. A well-fitted mouth guard can significantly reduce the risk of these types of injuries.
Off the shelf mouth guards can be heated and form fitted, or you can consult your dentist for a custom-fitted guard. 2. When to apply heat or cold to an injury. Cold reduces blood flow to an injured area and can limit the degree of swelling in an acute injury. Cold should be applied for 15-20 minutes to the effected area, then off for an hour. Repeat 3-5 times initially, then less frequently in day two or three as needed. Cold also has good analgesic effect as a numb area hurts less. Heat increases blood flow to an area, bringing healing elements to an injury site. Heat also makes muscles and tendons stretch more, improving range of motion. Heat can be generated through active means such as a stationary bike or treadmill, or passive with a moist heat pack or whirlpool/hot tub. Heat should not be applied to an acute, actively swelling injury. This could increase the degree of swelling.
Health Watch Bruce Valentine
December 9, 2010
Continued, page 29
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