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Injuries come with the territory of working out and pushing your body to the limit. Although injuries can be incredibly frustrating to athletes, it is imperative that you listen to your body, rest, and take the proper steps to ensure that you have fully healed before jumping back into your exercise routine. Here are four of the most common workout injuries and steps that you can take to speed the healing process.

Ankle Sprain

Because the pain from an ankle sprain is mostly caused by inflammation, it is most important to begin treating the swelling immediately. The tried and true “RICE” method employs the use of rest, ice, compression, and elevation to treat the inflammation and get you back on your feet as soon as possible. Anti-inflammatory medicine can also be helpful in reducing pain and swelling.

Lower Back Strain

Pain in the lower back may be a sign that you have pulled a muscle surrounding the spine. After icing the area to reduce the swelling, an option would be to use a heated wrap. Moist heat wraps more effectively penetrate the skin, reaching the sore muscle quickly. Moist heat also decreases the chance of skin irritation compared to its dry heat treatment counterpart.

Shin Splints

Formally known as medial tibial stress syndrome, shin splints are a common problem for runners and those who use repetitive movements in their workout routine. To speed the healing, it is recommended that athletes check to make sure they are wearing proper shoes, perform regular warm up exercises, and gradually increase the intensity of the training. If the symptoms seem more serious then going to a physical therapist and receiving treatment might be the best option. The use of foam rollers can also help loosen the fascia and correct any biomechanical problems leading to the issue.

IT Band Issues

Iliotibial band syndrome is an inflammation of the band that runs the outside of the leg connecting the knee to the hip. This feeling of tightness and discomfort is most common among cyclists and runners. Cross-training in a pool is a great way to treat the injury and speed up the recovery process. Massaging the affected area also often yields good results. The best way to prevent and treat it is commonly to strengthen the hip and gluteal muscles since those tend to be fairly weak in comparison to other large muscle groups.

In addition to specific injury remedies, it is also critical to always hydrate, get plenty of rest, allow yourself ample recovery time between workout sessions, and continually monitor your body and warning signs that you are overdoing it. By following these steps, you can help your body perform at higher levels.

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