Contributed by Kate Richardson, Amy Harrison, and Sean Huffman
Maybe it has happened to you: you are cruising along on a walk or run when suddenly, you step on an uneven part of the sidewalk or a root on the trail and you roll your ankle. If you are lucky, you are walking or running with a friend who can help care for you and help manage your injury. But what happens if you are by yourself when you get injured? No matter the type of injury or situation, there are a few steps you should take to assess the situation and care for yourself. You can use the acronym STOP to remember what to do.
S – Stop. Stop and step off the path, so you are out of the way of foot or bike traffic and in a safe place. If it is a lower body injury, find a place to sit down if possible. Once off the path, you can take a few minutes to evaluate the situation.
T – Think. Ask yourself a few questions, especially, what happened? Where are you feeling pain? What does the pain feel like? Asking yourself these questions will help you start to process the injury.
O – Observe. What do you notice about your ankle (or other body part)? Is there any sign of serious injury, such as a deformity or significant bruising, bleeding, or swelling? Is there an open wound that needs to be addressed immediately? If you do not see any signs of serious injury, are you able to move the body part? If it is a lower extremity body part, can you put weight on it with minimal or no pain?
P – Plan. If there are any signs of serious injury, stay where you are and call for help. If the injury is minor, plan how you will get back to your starting point safely and without risking further injury. While running back to your starting point may be faster, walking may be the safer option. Monitor your injury for any worsening symptoms and I.C.E. (ice, compression, & elevation) to help minimize pain and swelling.
This is where the MIT medical resources can help you! Please click on the “Dealing With Injury” tab to alert us of your injury and allow us to assist with a quick assessment and work together to determine next steps. With our physician, physical therapy, and athletic training contacts throughout Columbus, each MIT member can trust the high level of care, delivered quickly.
Whether you are walking or running with a friend or alone, it helps to be prepared. No one wants to get injured or be forced to take time off from running, but if it happens to you, following these steps can help you prevent further injury and get on the path to healing.