Table of Contents
Getting hurt in training is more or less inevitable. How you deal with the injuries you pick up can be what decides whether they become chronic problems or even keep you away from your sport permanently, or whether they stay manageable or even get fixed altogether.
First of all, let's look at how you get hurt: Broadly, it's going to be one of three causes. They are:
1: Traumatic impact.
You got hit. If you play American Football or Rugby, you've been here already. If you're a sprinter, a rock climber or a fell runner, though, it can still happen to you - you can fall, slip or another runner or player in your sport can run into you by accident. This type of injury can cause anything from bruises to broken bones and worse. This is how Rugby players get broken collarbones and how American football players get all kinds of injuries.
2: Acute strain.
'Strain' sounds like something you'd just have some Ibuprofen and a lie-down for, but it can mean anything from soreness to torn muscles, tendons and ligaments, or even separated joints! 'Acute' doesn't refer to how bad the injury is. It means 'sudden' or 'short term.' Rather than chronic over-use injuries, this was a sudden movement that blew out a tendon or muscle. Soccer players do this to their knees, powerlifters do it to their ACLs and labra, sprinters do it to their posterior leg muscles - hamstrings or Achilles tendons.
3: Chronic strain or overuse.
Chronic overuse injuries can creep up on you; if you don't know how you got hurt, it could be a chronic overuse injury. Doing repetitive movements will increase the risk of injuries like this. So will doing movements at the edge of your flexibility or strength boundaries - so gymnasts doing moves like skin the cats, which combine a large range of motion with high strength demands, run the risk of picking up chronic overuse injuries. So do people who spend time typing, or carrying shopping.
You don't need to know how you got hurt to know what to do about it, but it does help. So see if you can figure out what happened. If you can't figure out whether your injury is a brand new one or an old one that's crept up on you, treat it as acute for the first 24 hours at least; it won't do any harm, while some methods that work great for chronic injuries can really aggravate acute injuries and make them worse.
Whichever way you picked up your injury, it really boils down to whether it's new or old. New injuries need more rest, old ones need more stimulation and movement.