Inspired by summer sports? What to do with sprains and strains

Two doctors' surgeries in the Nene CCG area offer the full provision for extended practice hours.
Two doctors' surgeries in the Nene CCG area offer the full provision for extended practice hours.

After a summer of sport, you may be inspired to take up a new sport or leisure activity - but Lincolnshire East CCG is warning people to take a few simple steps to avoid a sprain or strain.

We all know that exercise has many health benefits, and it can help you live longer and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by up to 50 per cent. But if you haven’t exercised in a while you should take things gently to start with.

Most sports injuries happen because a person does too much too quickly, aren’t properly prepared, or use poor techniques.

So how do you avoid injury and still get the daily exercise you need to lead a healthy lifestyle?

Dr Stephen Baird Hill, Chair of NHS Lincolnshire East CCG, said: “When you start a new sport or exercise for the first time your muscles aren’t used to the physical stresses involved which can lead to sprains and strains. So, make sure you start slowly and gradually build up your activity over time.

“It helps to wear footwear that supports and protects your feet and ankles and is appropriate for the type of activity you’re doing. Always make sure your footwear is in good condition and avoid running or walking on uneven surfaces if possible.

“Signs of a sprain or strain can include pain, swelling, bruising and tenderness around a joint or in a muscle. You may also find it difficult to move the affected body part.”

Most sprains and strains are relatively minor and can be treated at home with self-care techniques. Your local pharmacy can advise you on a range of over the counter medicines which are usually cheaper than a prescription from your GP.

Remember soft tissue injuries can take up to four weeks to heal so it’s important to be patient. If the symptoms haven’t improved you can call NHS111 - available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They can offer advice about what to do or where to go.

• For more information about treating sports injuries, visit