Treatment for a sports injury will depend on factors such as how severe the injury is and the part of your body affected.
The links below provide information and advice about treatments for specific injuries: Some general treatments that may be helpful for your injury are described below.
Minor injuries, such as mild sprains and strains, can often be initially treated at home using PRICE therapy for two or three days.
PRICE stands for protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation.
Painkillers, such as paracetamol, can be used to help ease the pain.
Ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)tablets or creams can also be used to ease pain and reduce any swelling.
Aspirin shouldn't be given to children under 16 years old.
Immobilisation can sometimes help prevent further damage by reducing movement. It can also reduce pain, muscle swelling and muscle spasm.
For example, slings, splints and casts may be used to immobilise injured arms, shoulders, wrists and legs while you heal.
If you have a sprain, prolonged immobilisation isn't usually necessary, and you should try gently moving the affected joint as soon as you're able to do so without experiencing significant pain.
Some people recovering from a long-term injury may benefit from physiotherapy.
It's a specialist treatment where techniques such as massage, manipulation and exercises are used to improve range of motion, strengthen the surrounding muscles, and return the normal function of the injured area.
A physiotherapist can also develop an exercise programme to help strengthen the affected body part and reduce the risk of the injury recurring.
A corticosteroid injection may be recommended if you have severe or persistent inflammation.
It can help relieve pain caused by your injury, although for some people the pain relief is minimal or only lasts for a short period of time.
If necessary, a corticosteroid injection can be repeated, but you'll usually only be able to have two or three injections a year.
Side effects can include thinning of the skin, loss of fat, and infection. The doctor treating you will be able to explain the possible side effects in more detail.
Most sports injuries don't require surgery, but very severe injuries such as badly broken bones may require corrective treatment. This may include a manipulation or surgery to fix the bones with wires, plates, screws or rods.
In some cases, it may be possible to realign displaced bones without needing an operation.
Certain other injuries may also occasionally require surgery. For example, an operation may be needed to repair a torn knee ligament. Read more about knee ligament surgery.
Depending on the type of injury you have, it can take a few weeks to a few months or more to make a full recovery.
You shouldn't return to your previous level of activity until you've fully recovered, but you should aim to gently start moving the injured body part as soon as possible. Gentle exercises should help to improve the area’s range of movement. As movement becomes easier and the pain decreases, stretching and strengthening exercises can be introduced.
Make sure you don't try to do too much too quickly because this can delay recovery. Start by doing frequent repetitions of a few simple exercises before gradually increasing the amount you do.
In some cases, the help of a professional, such as a physiotherapist or sports injury specialist, may be beneficial. They can design a suitable recovery programme and advise you about the exercises you should do and the number of repetitions.