Steps to recover from ankle injuries

The most common types of ankle injuries are sprains and fractures. These types of injuries can be picked up very easily and are common in the GAA.  It is very easy to jump for a ball and land awkwardly on your ankle, which is very painful.

The ankle will start to swell up straight away and should be treated right away. It will be painful to put any weight on your feet so it is important to try and rest it until it has healed properly.

Recovery

The sooner the recovery process is started the better. The first step should be to get ice on the ankle to keep the swelling down and reduce inflammation. An ice pack or a bag of peas are often used for this. Ice should not be left on the skin for any longer than 15 minutes at a time.

It is important to try and keep weight off the ankle to prevent further damage and so that it has time to heal. Getting a pair of crutches may be necessary to get around for a few days until the ankle has sufficient time to heal.

Compressing the ankle in elastic bandage is also beneficial. It stabilizes the ankle which helps to prevent further damage. Swelling is also reduced by using a bandage.

Keeping the ankle elevated while resting can also speed up the recovery process. By holding it above the heart level it can reduce pain and swelling.

By keeping to this method of recovery an athlete could be back doing some exercise after a week or two. Once the recovery process is completed it is then essential to build up the strength in the ankle again. Exercises such as calf raises should be completed to build up the muscle around the ankle and to prevent further ankle injuries occurring.

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How to recover from a shoulder injury

A shoulder injury is becoming a regular injury in the GAA lately. It is mostly caused by the physical contact in the game. It is also caused by use of the arms, sometimes overstretching for a ball forces the shoulder to pop out. In severe cases, injuries can last up to six months. In other cases then shoulder injuries can last less than a month.

Usually it is the rotator cuff which is affected in a shoulder injury. The rotator cuff is a set of tendons and muscles surrounding the shoulder joint. The function is to stabilize the shoulder. Each time you move your upper body you are using your shoulder joint so it is important to keep it injury free.

Prevention

In order to try and prevent shoulder injuries occurring it is important to keep the muscle around the shoulder strong. There are numerous exercises that can be done to achieve this.

If you have pain in your shoulder after an activity it is important to stop and rest it. If you keep doing the same action it is going to cause an injury.

Warming up before exercise is also very important. If you start shoulder exercises in the gym without warming it up properly there is a high chance of an injury occurring.

Recovery

After a shoulder injury happens it is very important to rest up. Taking at least a week off from any strenuous exercise can be very beneficial. It will allow the tendons to recover from inflammation.

After all the pain has gone then rehab should start to build back up strength in the shoulder. Exercises such as external rotations should be used to restore mobility and range of motion.

It is also important to keep shoulder strengthening exercises in your daily routine. They help to restore strength in the shoulder and to prevent further injury from occurring.

Groin Injury

Causes

A groin injury is caused by some muscles in the groin being contracted or stretched with too much force. Often a player will notice their groin getting tight if they are doing a lot of kicking. Another way a groin injury can occur is if the muscle is used too much without it being stretched out. It is very important to get a good stretch done before exercise to counteract this.

Groin strains are graded with numbers 1,2 and 3 depending on how serious it is. 1 is a small bit of pain with minor damage, 2 is bruising and a bit of pain while 3 is a severe tear causing a lot of pain.

Treatment

The sooner a groin strain is treated the better. Studies show that the first 24-48 hours are crucial to get the recovery started. Applying an ice pack to the affected area straight away is the first step. This will help to stop swelling. Relaxing and not using the muscle too often can also help with recovery.

There are also a number of exercises an injured player can do once they are able to in order to strengthen the muscle. By strengthening the muscle it will reduce the chance of the injury happening again.

Prevention

Before doing any exercise all of the muscles should be warmed up and ready to go. In this case doing a light warm up and getting the groin area stretched is essential to prevent a possible injury.

Also wearing compression shorts have been seen to help keep muscles feeling fresh after exercise. The shorts hold muscles in place while aid with blood flow to the muscles.

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Cruciate Injury

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury

An Interior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury is starting to become a very common injury in sports in Ireland. A cruciate injury happens when the ligament becomes stretched, torn or strained. The most common one is a complete tear which is very painful. Usually there will be a popping sound which leads to swelling of the knee straight away.

This sort of injury occurs after an awkward fall, quick change in direction, stopping suddenly or direct contact to the knee. This will also lead to knee instability as the ligament is no longer able to stabilize the knee joint.

There are a lot of top inter county players in the GAA who have gone through this injury recently. Henry Shefflin, Bernard Brogan, Colm Cooper and Jack McCaffrey are just a few of them. Even with all of the top class physios, training and advice available to these players, this injury can still occur. There is no real way to prevent it but you can make the muscle around it stronger to try decrease the chance of it occurring.

Recovery

In most cases surgery is required in order to reconstruct the ACL. The torn ACL is replaced with a tendon from another source. Just earlier this year Tom Parsons the Mayo midfielder suffered an ACL injury. He has come out and said that he has numerous body parts of his own in his knee, such as hamstring and quad ligaments. He also has someone else’s Achilles ligament in his knee.

It can take up to 6 months for an athlete to get back on the pitch after an ACL injury. They need to regain their sense of balance and control over the knee to help stop a second cruciate injury from happening. A lot of physio is needed in order for this to happen.

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Hamstring Injury

Hamstring Injuries

One of the most common injuries in Gaelic Games in Ireland today is a pulled hamstring or a tore hamstring. This comes as a result of too much stress put on the muscle and not enough rest and recovery in between sessions or games. For an athlete to stay on top of their game they need to remain injury free.

These kinds of injuries usually happen when there is a lot of sprinting and changing direction quickly. The muscles become overworked and this results in one or more of the muscles in the hamstring becoming strained.

There are a number of things a player can be doing to prevent these injuries from occurring and to keep themselves injury free.

Ice Baths

After a tough training session which has a lot of running in it, it is important for an athlete to get the recovery process started straight away. Jumping into an ice bath for 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off twice is an ideal start to the process. This speeds up recovery after exercise by reducing temperature, blood flow and inflammation in tissues of the muscles. It will have the body feeling a lot fresher the next morning.

Foam Rolling

This is a very important step in preventing all sorts of injuries. An athlete should be foam rolling before their workout or session to loosen out muscles. Then this should be done again after the session to prevent lactic acid building up in the muscles.

Active Recovery

Finally, another way an athlete can prevent hamstring trouble is through stretching and active recovery. On days when there is no training a player or athlete should be doing some sort of exercise. Even a 15 minute walk or cycle will help to keep blood flowing through the muscles. This will help prevent lactic acid from building up.

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