Like all types of athletes, lacrosse players are at risk of getting injured any time they practice or play in a game. Running, pivoting, cutting, and dodging are all normal parts of the game, but a wrong step, stretching too far, or too much twisting can result in an injury that can set you back for weeks or months.
Some of the frequently seen lacrosse injuries include:
- Ankle and knee sprains
- ACL tears
- Muscle strains in the groin, hamstrings, and quadriceps
- Shin splints
Of this list, muscle strains are one of the top injuries that lacrosse players incur. In some cases, these injuries are preventable, but when they are not, proper treatment can help you get back in the game faster.
Muscle Strain Prevention
The best way to address an injury is to avoid it in the first place. When it comes to muscle strains, there are several ways you can help reduce your risk.
Keeping your body ready for athletics during the off-season can help prevent injuries when it’s time to ramp it up for the season. Without consistent conditioning, the loss of strength and flexibility can lead to injury when you try to push yourself to your peak limits if your body isn’t ready for it.
Give Your Body a Break
While it’s important to stay in shape, it’s also necessary to periodically rest and allow your body to recover. Reserve one or two days a week as your off days and do different types of activities in the off-season. Lacrosse is fun and exhilarating, but if you don’t take an occasional break you are at higher risk for overuse injuries and muscle strains.
Warm Up and Cool Down
While it might be tempting to jump right into the more engaging parts of lacrosse practice, doing a proper warm-up before going all out is essential to help prevent injuries. If your lower body muscles are not warmed up and stretched before sprinting, it’s much easier to suffer a muscle strain. Stretching after practice as well helps keep you limber and agile.
Muscle Strain Treatments
If you do end up getting a muscle strain, proactive treatment can help cut down the healing time. Follow these tips for a speedy recovery:
Rest Your Body
The more you try to push yourself, the longer it will take to recover. It’s hard for athletes to sit on the sidelines, but getting ample rest while your body is healing is absolutely necessary.
Apply Cold to Reduce Pain and Swelling
Therapeutic cold helps reduce the pain that comes with a muscle strain by slowing down nerve impulses and temporarily numbing the area. Your body naturally responds to muscle strains by swelling, and while this is an important part of the inflammatory response, too much swelling can slow down healing. Cold helps reduce swelling by restricting the flow of blood and other fluids.
Apply Compression to Reduce Swelling
Another way to help control swelling is to apply compression to the strained muscle. Use compression to maintain consistent pressure that will prevent excess fluid from building up around the damaged tissues.
Take Medication as Needed
Muscle strains are painful. If ice packs are not sufficient, consider taking the recommended dosage of an over-the-counter pain medication to help decrease your discomfort. NSAIDs can also contribute to the reduction of swelling.
Don’t Return to Sports Too Soon
How long you have to take it easy depends on the extent of the injury, but returning to athletic activity too soon increases the chances of injuring yourself again. After the pain has completely subsided, ease back into your old routine and make sure your strained muscles are fully warmed up and stretched before going all out.
How Cold Therapy Can Help
Cold therapy devices make applying cold and compression both easier and more effective. Body-conforming wraps increase the amount of contact between the cold source and your skin, which allows therapeutic cold to penetrate deeper and last longer. Cold water constantly flows through the wrap to maintain a consistent temperature without you getting wet or having to hold an ice pack. At the same time, active compression removes excess fluid to more effectively reduce swelling. These wraps are also much easier to apply than compression bandages, especially to the groin area.
Athletes and trainers have been using Game Ready for over fifteen years to safely and effectively accelerate recovery from sports injuries. If you’d like to learn more about muscle strain treatments and prevention, download our free guide, Muscle Strain 101: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment.