For an active person, nothing is more frustrating than an injury. They prevent you from doing what you love: playing sports and training. Injuries happen, though, and it takes time to heal and get back on the field. So rushing back from an injury will most often lead to an aggravation of that injury and more time spent on the sidelines watching. The next time you get hurt, use these tips for recovering from a sports injury and get better faster.

Eat Plenty of Protein

Plenty of sports injuries aren’t far off from normal training. Many of them are muscle pulls and tears, and that is exactly what is happening when you train or workout: you are breaking down muscle fibers so they heal and grow back stronger. The muscles want protein to aid in their healing, so give them plenty. You won’t feel better instantly, but it will move the process along faster.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated all the time is important especially if you are injured. We know it’s important to stay hydrated while playing and training, but once the routine is thrown off, best practices are often forgotten. The body is made up of mostly water, so replenish it with what it needs. Stick to water and fruit juice instead of sports drinks. They have a lot of sodium and that can lead to water retention, making it difficult for swelling to go down.

Rehab the Injury

The pain might be gone, and the swelling is down, but that doesn’t mean you are 100 percent healed. Rehabbing the injury is important to make sure it’s healed and won’t be easily aggravated again. Many methods can accomplish this, including physical therapy, massage therapy, and even ultrasound therapy, which involves using sound waves to heat and treat. Consult your doctor or trainer on what the best course of action is, but make sure you do something. The injury will heal, but you don’t want to lose strength or range of motion as a result.

Try the RICE Method

Soft-tissue injuries like an ankle sprain or muscle pull need immediate first aid. Using the RICE method will help you recover from these types of sports injuries. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation are the four steps of the method. Get plenty of rest and ice the injured area. Then utilize a compression method on the injury for the 48 hours afterward and elevate it, meaning put your feet up and relax for a couple of days.