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What Not to Do After a Tennis Injury

March 20, 2006 02:24 PM

By Jim Brown, Ph.D., Executive Editor, Sports Performance Journal (athletesperformance.com), Author, Tennis: Steps to Success

Most tennis players are familiar with the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) protocol following an injury. But how many of you know what HAAM means? Nobody does, because it was created just for this article. HAAM stands for four things you should not do to yourself or others following an injury.

Heat
Don’t apply heat (including hot showers, heating pads, topical creams) during the first 48-72 hours following an injury. Heat increases the blood flow to tissues and can cause further swelling.

Alcohol
Avoid drinking alcohol for 24-48 hours. It causes blood vessels to dilate and also increases swelling.

Activity
Unless there is a minor injury to the leg, for example, “walking it off” exposes the injured tissue or body part to additional damage. Look for signs of healing (no pain, no swelling, unrestricted motion) before resuming physical activity.

Massage
Avoid massage to an injured area during the first few days following an acute injury. As with heat, alcohol, and activity, massage increases blood flow and could lead to more swelling. It may also damage already injured tissues.

© 2005 HMS Publishing, Inc.
Jim Brown will be contributing new content to this site on a monthly basis. If you have a question for Dr. Brown please feel free to email him at
sportsmed@mindspring.com.

 

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