You have come off injured during the game with a sprain or strain, there is some swelling and the body part is feeling very sore. At the end of the game there are drinks in the club rooms and you decide to have a few.

This small injury that you received on Saturday that should have only taken a week or two to get over, could now have you on the bench for four to five weeks due to the alcohol and poor injury management.

It is a known fact that alcohol – no matter how much you indulge in – increases the bleeding and swelling around soft tissue if injured. The increased bleeding in the soft tissue will increase the time spent away from the game you love to play. One reason is that the alcohol thins the blood which makes the blood run faster to the injured site. Flooding the area full of blood increases the swelling and the amount of toxins that will stay around the injured site which in turn will significantly delay healing. The increased blood, swelling and toxins, will increase the scar tissue forming underneath the skin’s surface that you can not see. This increase in scar tissue formation means more rehabilitation and therefor time it takes for the injured body part to heal.

By having a few drinks (which could lead to quite a few drinks), the alcohol will mask the pain you are experiencing from the injured body part and increase the likelihood of you standing, walking (or dancing) on the injured area which again will increase the bleeding and swelling around the site an hence resulting in a problem that could take weeks to resolve.

In addition to this, because the alcohol reduces the amount of pain that you are experiencing, you will tend to not seek medical help/treatment early on, again delaying healing.

Alcohol could also will make you dehydrated. Dehydration can contribute to several issues which have a negative effect on sports injuries. Some of the negative effects include

  • a build-up of waste products such as lactic acid
  • thickening of the blood
  • impaired homeostasis (this affects the body’s ability to control its temperature)
  • slower rate of nutrient absorption

These negative effects means that the injured area will suffer for longer as the body will not be able to get rid of the toxins efficiently and will not be able to get the nutrients to the injured area fast, therefore delaying the healing phase of your injury and spending more time out of the game.

These are just a few important reasons why you should seek medical advice straight away or as soon as possible if you have sustained an injury during the game.

If you are not sure whether or not the “injury is bad”, then it is best to be on the safe side and seek medical advice any way.

Our Geelong (Corio Bay Sports Medicine Centre – Ph 5221 8822) and Norlane (Northern Physiotherapy Centre – Ph 5275 3676) clinics offer a free post-game injury assessment session with a senior physiotherapist to clubs who are part of our Sports Membership Scheme.

Sessions in Geelong are each Sunday between 10am-12pm. Players are asked to phone between 8-10am each Sunday to arrange a time. Sessions in Norlane are held each Monday between 5-6pm. Players are asked to phone after 8am on each Monday to book in.