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Injury treatment and recovery

Even minor injuries can derail performance. Follow these tips to manage the discomfort of minor injuries and prevent further damage.

A key concern for Warfighters and athletes alike is getting injured. Continuing to train through a minor injury can turn it into a major one. Even with minor injuries, it’s important to decrease inflammation and increase the range of motion at the affected joint. Two approaches to take are RICE and ISE. Start with RICE—rest, ice, compression, and elevation—to decrease inflammation. Once inflammation is minimized, ISE—ice, stretching, and exercise—helps to increase the range of motion. Using these techniques may reduce inflammation, stiffness, weakness, and/or loss of normal function. Once pain and swelling are reduced, the next step is reconditioning. Exercises that target the area of injury should promote flexibility, endurance, speed, strength, and power while progressing gradually. The main goal of reconditioning is to efficiently decrease pain and increase range of motion. Always check with your physician to rule out more serious injury before proceeding.

Chapter 12 of The US Navy Seal Guide to Fitness and Nutrition provides more detail.

Pounding the pavement or soft trails—which running surface is better?

HPRC Fitness Arena: Physical Fitness
Some experts think that soft-surface running is harder on the body than running on pavement.



Conventional wisdom suggests that running on softer surfaces is better for the body than harder surfaces. However, in a recent New York Times article, the subject of running injuries on hard versus soft surfaces was examined. Exercise physiologist Hirofumi Tanaka of the University of Texas at Austin took a deeper look at soft-surface running and said he could not find any scientific evidence that a softer surface benefits runners. Tanaka developed an interest in the topic after experiencing a running injury. When he was recovering from a knee injury, an orthopedist told him to get off the roads and hit the trails. He took that advice and twisted his ankle and aggravated the injury while running on the softer, irregular surface.

In the aftermath of his accident, Dr. Tanaka said he could not find scientific evidence supporting that a softer surface is better for runners than a hard one, nor could other experts he queried. In fact, he suggested that it makes just as much sense to reason that runners are more likely to get injured on soft surfaces, which often are irregular, than on smooth, hard ones.

 

Exercise smart to prevent injuries

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Some tips to keep you from hurting yourself while exercising

Since injuries can occur in physically active individuals, here are a few tips to help you stay injury free:

  • Warm-up and cool-down after exercise;
  • Use proper form;
  • Spread activity throughout the week, not just the weekend;
  • Wear appropriate safety gear;
  • Increase intensity and time gradually, and
  • Cross train to prevent overuse injuries.

Click here for more information: Handout on Health. Sports Injuries. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease.

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Military medical researchers develop blood for screening concussions or mild traumatic brain injury

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Can a blood test detect a concussion or TBI?

MRI of Head

CNN.com is reporting that military medical researchers have developed a blood test that can detect if someone has suffered a concussion or a mild traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a big concern for the military, particularly milder forms, because unlike TBI, milder injuries cannot be seen on X-rays, CT scans or MRIs. Having this test would be useful not only for the military but for civilians as well.

Read the full article here.

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Studies look at the effect of running has on your knees

HPRC Fitness Arena:
The October 13, 2010 Health section of the New York Times has an article discussing recent research on knees, arthritis and vigorous exercise.

Man with radiating knee pain

The October 13, 2010 Health section of the New York Times has an article discussing recent research on knees, arthritis, and vigorous exercise.

There's no question that physical activity over time takes its toll; however, your body is capable of adapting to it. The question is whether this adaptation is healthy.

Read the full article here.

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Avoiding the "weekend-warrior" injury syndrome

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Are you putting yourself at risk by training too hard on the weekends?

Man with cast on his leg

Each day, more than 10,000 Americans visit emergency rooms for sports and exercise-related injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of those who get injured are getting hurt due to being inactive and then suddenly taking on a major exercise program, such as training for a half-marathon – hence the weekend-warrior syndrome. Physorg.com has an article that provides common sense tips for avoiding the weekend-warrior pitfall of doing too much, too fast, too soon.

Read the full article here.

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The hidden danger of extreme workouts

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Are high-intensity fitness programs safe?

The Off Duty section of the Air Force Times recently published an article that looks at the popularity high-intensity fitness programs and concerns about their safety.

Read the full article here.

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Runners: To strech or not to stretch?

HPRC Fitness Arena:
The USA Track and Field (USATF), the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States has just released a study to determine the effect of pre-run stretching on running injuries.

Runner stretchingPhoto: Blake Cable

The USA Track and Field (USATF), the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States has released a study to determine the effect of pre-run stretching on running injuries. The purpose of the study was to determine specifically if pre-run stretching of the three major leg muscle groups is beneficial for overall injury prevention or reduction.

According to the study, this was a clinical trial that involved close to 3,000 runners and the results confirm there is no difference in the risk of injury for those who stretched before running and those who did not. The study randomly assigned people to perform a specified pre-run stretching routine or to perform no pre-run stretching for a period of 3 months.

The findings of the stretch study can be viewed as a PDF here.

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