SHARP: Sign Of Inflammation

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When a Carson City Gymnastics athlete has a minor training injury – twisted ankle, jammed wrist, etc. – the best treatment advice is contained in the acronym RICE.

RICE stands for:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compress
  • Elevate

(For more information on treatment with RICE, read this post: Carson City Gymnastics: RICE For Small Injuries)

But when should parents and coaches use RICE?

The answer is contained in another easy to remember acronym: SHARP

SHARP stands for

  • Swelling
  • Heat
  • Altered Function
  • Redness
  • Pain

All of the above are symptoms of inflammation. The 5 signs of SHARP are representative of the inflammatory reaction/protection phase right after an injury.

If any swelling, heat, altered function, redness, or pain is present, continue treating with rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

When moving, there will be pain before tissue resistance. The last thing you want your gymnastics athlete to experience is more pain when moving, as this will indicate further damage and lengthen the healing and recovery process.

When the SHARP inflammatory phase is over, true healing and recovery will begin. Continue with good nutrition, low-impact training, and plenty of rest.


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