6 Injury Myths Athletic Trainers Want You to Know About

Sports field at night


Injury Myths: Guy stretching before workout

When it comes to injury and rehabilitation, there are many well-accepted myths out there. Many of us take these myths as truth and apply them to treat our own injuries. Unfortunately, many of these beliefs aren’t actually based on scientific research. Treating an injury the wrong way can not only prolong the recovery time, but can also make the injury worse. To help you discover the truth and get you back to the sport you love quicker and stronger, we’ve made a list of 6 injury myths athletic trainers want you to know.

Myth 1: Rest is the Best Medicine

A widely held belief is that the best way to cure an injury is to take it easy and rest. While rest can be important to reduce inflammation and pain, it will not heal all injuries. Most injuries require injury-specific rehabilitation exercises in order to heal. In fact, in many cases, exercise actually promotes tissue healing. Tissues need to be worked out to get stronger so that they can handle the loads imposed on them on a daily basis. Resting prevents the tissues from getting worked out, therefore making muscle tissue lose strength and get smaller. That’s why it’s important to seek medical help and get a treatment plan in place beyond the first initial rest period to heal and strengthen the affected area.  

Myth 2: Put Heat on New Injuries

Many people mistake when to apply heat versus ice to an injury. A good rule of thumb is to put ice on fresh injuries and heat on chronic tight or stiff muscular aches. Putting heat on a new injury can actually make the injury worse by increasing swelling, which can cause it to become more painful. Immediately after an injury it is best to apply ice on the affected area to reduce swelling and help relieve the pain. Heat is a great option for ongoing muscular or joint pains, because it helps improve circulation and blood flow to the area, which can improve muscle flexibility.

Myth 3: Where it Hurts is Where the Problem is

It seems simple, whatever part of my body hurts is the culprit of the injury, right? Wrong! No body part works in isolation. A slight alignment or disfunction in your hip might lead to a posture problem which could then cause shoulder pain. While treating the shoulder might cause temporary relief, it won’t heal until the hip issue is addressed. That’s why it’s important to seek medical attention to help you determine the area that is causing you to experience distress. Exercises and therapy can help heal the area and prevent injuries from reoccurring in the future.

Glass of water with painkillers and lifting weights

Myth 4: Just Take a Painkiller

We all know it’s not fun when pain prevents us from doing what we love. That’s why it’s super tempting to pop a painkiller and continue with our scheduled trainings. While painkillers definitely help in the short term to get you through your workout, they can cause more damage in the long run. Muting the body’s cry for help when it’s in pain can cause you to over-work the injury, making it worse. It’s important to listen to your body. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. While soreness and fatigue are normal after a hard workout, real pain is not! And it is definitely something that shouldn’t be ignored.

Myth 5: When the Pain Goes Away You're Cured

Although pain is a strong indicator of being injured, being pain free doesn’t necessarily mean you are in the clear. Pain signals can be blocked or covered up by medication, treatment plans, or the brain. In order to know if you are ready to get back to your regular routine, you need to know that the cause of injury has been healed. It is best to wait until a medical professional has cleared you ready to play to prevent an injury from recurring or worsening.   

Myth 6: You Can Do It Alone

You might feel you can handle your injury on your own; throw some ice on it, take some painkillers and you’re good to go. The truth is that without professional help it might be tough to heal your injury properly and to prevent further injuries in the future. It’s important to seek out help from a sports medicine professional. They can guide you with an appropriate treatment plan that includes rehabilitation exercises to help you heal quickly, so that you can get back to what you love.

The important take away from these common injury myths is that it’s very important that you seek medical attention when you sustain an injury, rather than attempting to treat yourself at home. A sports medicine professional can help you get on the right path to recovery. Here at Presagia Sports we care about athlete health, that’s why we provide an Athlete Electronic Health Record solution to simplify the lives of sports medicine professionals, so that they can spend more time caring for their athletes.