It doesn’t matter if you’re signed up for select soccer or high school football, the possibility of injury is always lurking. Parents watch from the stands and hold their breath when they hear the whistle blow after an injury interruption. […]
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Sports Injury? Try a little RICE before the Sports Clinic

by Jill Taylor on February 4, 2015

in Safety

119959952It doesn’t matter if you’re signed up for select soccer or high school football, the possibility of injury is always lurking.

Parents watch from the stands and hold their breath when they hear the whistle blow after an injury interruption. Could it be a slight sprain or a season-ending injury? The fear of the unknown can be worrisome not only for the parents, but the player, coach and entire team.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help get you back in the game as quickly as possible. For more than 20 years orthopedist Derek L. Lichota, MD has helped athletes in sports medicine at Scott & White.

Dr. Lichota provides some tips about Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE) to help treat injuries. Even more, he explains a little more about the Scott & White Sports Clinic, where physicians see injured athletes every Saturday without an appointment to get them on the road to recovery.

“When someone’s depressed about an injury, I tell them my goal is the same is theirs,” says Dr. Lichota. “I want to get them back playing as soon as they can. I know some of the tricks to do that, and if they work with me, hopefully we can do that a little bit quicker.”

Injured, Now What? Remember RICE

If you’ve been injured in a game, follow these simple RICE guidelines to cut down on swelling and improve healing.

  1. Rest

Rest is the first step which simply means immobilizing your injury. If it’s a foot or ankle injury you may have to use crutches, or you may need a sling for an arm or an elbow. “We’re decreasing activity for that specific injury,” says Dr. Lichota.

Most people may think crutches or a sling can be bothersome, but it key to a full and complete recovery. “I had to use crutches for six weeks,” says Dr. Lichota. “Although it was hard, I used them for the full six weeks, because I wanted to avoid surgery, so that’s why I stayed off of it.” It’s important to rest or stay off the injury to avoid increased damage.

  1. Ice

With common sports injuries, you can use ice to decrease the swelling and promote healing. If you alternate 20 minutes on with 20 minutes off, this will allow your skin to recover and help the blood flow back to the injured area. Remember to use a washcloth or a towel to avoid skin damage from the ice.

  1. Compression

For compression, this usually means using an ACE bandage wrap to cut down on swelling. You start the furthest away from the injury you can, and wrap until you get to above the injured area. For example, if you injured your elbow, start wrapping from the wrist up to avoid blood clots. Every two or three hours you can rewrap, and give yourself a little break. Remember, don’t wrap it too tight because you don’t want to cut off blood flow.

  1. Elevation

The last step in RICE is elevation or putting your injury above heart level, if possible. If you’ve injured an arm, Dr. Lichota recommends taking it out of the sling for awhile and putting your hand above your heart. This will give you a chance to move your fingers and use gravity to push the swelling out of the area. If it’s an injured leg or knee, you can prop it up using a few pillows while resting on the couch.

“If players follow the steps of RICE we hope to minimize or decrease the swelling or pain,” says Dr. Lichota. “We always hope to return them to activities as fast as possible.”

Saturday Sports Clinic

In addition to RICE, you will probably want to see a doctor about your injury. The Scott & White Sports Clinic is open to the community to help athletes heal.

The following are some benefits of the Scott & White Sports Clinic:

  • Currently open every Saturday until December, possibility to expand hours
  • No appointment necessary, so no waiting to schedule
  • Visit with a specialist in sports medicine specialist
  • Player doesn’t have to miss school and the parent doesn’t have to miss work to see a doctor
  • Convenient location at the Temple Roney Bone & Joint Institute
  • If you need an x-rays it is done that same day
  • MRI’s, if needed, can be scheduled
  • Special diagnoses and treatment plans for athletes
  • Coaches or teammates will have a better idea of who can play or not that next week
  • Left up to the parent’s discretion, but could help avoid a potential ER visit
  • Open to all athletes, including college players, club teams, or select leagues
  • Treats acute injuries for people who may not be athletes as well.

“I’ve seen players, parents, coaches and trainers really appreciate this,” says Dr. Lichota. “If you’re hurt Friday night, this means you can be taken care of within 12 hours of the injury with no appointment starting as early as 8 a.m.”

The Sports Clinic has been a great service to the community and most players and parents come away feeling a lot better.

“I think the biggest thing is helping these kids and families,” says Dr. Lichota. “Especially for the single parent families you no longer have to wait and miss work to get help. We say, ‘we’ll see you Saturday.’ We’re helping these kids and parents get the answers they need without a huge delay.”

For more information call 254-724-2663.


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