Rafting Injuries

 

 

 

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, there are around 10 million rafters in the United States. Rafting is considered a fun, exhilarating, thrilling sport. However, participants shouldn’t forget that it’s equally challenging and that it’s considered an extreme sport with high levels of inherent danger.

How Do Injuries Occur?

Rafting involves passengers navigating an inflatable raft over whitewater; rivers; and other fast moving, rough bodies of water using oars or paddles. Some states have introduced legislation to help protect rafters from injury, including making outfitters and guides be certified and use the appropriate procedures and equipment.

Despite safety regulations, accidents happen. Just getting in and out of the raft can produce an injury. Once on the water, there are multiple environmental hazards, including large rocks, rock walls, drops, waves, strong currents, and otherwise rough water. There are also behavioral hazards, mostly stemming from passengers not following the direction of the raft’s operator or guide.

The majority of rafting injuries are traumatic injuries. These injuries can result from several scenarios, such as the body coming into contact with other rafters, a paddle/oar, or an element in the environment; falling or being thrown from the raft; or becoming entangled in the raft itself.

What Are Some Common Rafting Injuries?

Contusions

A contusion is a medical term used to describe a bruise. This injury is usually the result of the body suffering a direct blow. Depending on the force of the blow, and being thrown or falling from a rapidly moving raft can certainly result in a great deal of force, the contusion may be at the surface of the skin (subcutaneous), muscle, bone, or even reach internal organs.

In any event, the force of the trauma damages local tissue and blood vessels. The seeping blood from these injured blood vessels begin to pool and create the black-and-blue appearance one can see following the injury. Sensitive nerve endings detect the excess blood and cause the area to be tender and painful. Depending on the depth of the contusion, other injuries, such as fractures and strains, may also be present.

Fractures

A fracture, also colloquially called a broken bone, is another common traumatic injury in rafting. This injury is commonly seen when a rafter’s lower or upper extremity becomes entangled in the raft as they fall or are thrown from the raft. Fractures may also be seen when a rafter is thrown/falls from the raft and is forcefully propelled by the water into environmental debris or rock.

A fracture is when a bone has lost its normal continuity. Most people think a fracture is much like breaking a twig in half. However, a bone can fracture many different ways, such as:

* A portion of the fractured bone may protrude through the skin or be positioned underneath an open wound, which is called a compound/open fracture. Fractured bones that don’t involve protrusion or an open wound are termed closed/simple fractures.

* A crack can transverse the entire width of the fractured bone and cause the bone fragments to separate from each other completely, which is termed a complete fracture. An incomplete fracture is when the crack isn’t across the entire bone and fragments retain some connection.

* When the fractured bone breaks into multiple segments, it’s termed a comminuted fracture.

* A bone that was twisted during the injury is termed a spiral fracture.

* When bone fragments are forced into one another from the force of the injurious event, it's called an impacted fracture.


Wrist Sprain

The wrist is connected to the metacarpal, ulna, and radius bones by several ligaments. There are also multiple ligaments connecting each of the tiny bones within the wrist to one another. Oar and paddle action places a great deal of loading stress and pressure on these ligaments and can result in a wrist sprain.

A wrist sprain is the stretching or tearing of one or more of the wrist ligaments. Like all sprains, wrist sprains are graded based on the degree of stretching or tearing the ligament(s) suffers. A grade one wrist sprain involves only stretching or microscopic tearing of the ligament’s fibers. This grade doesn’t interfere with the wrist’s normal range of motion. A grade two wrist sprain can involve up to 90% of the affected ligament’s fibers being torn and can produce symptoms of pain, tenderness, swelling, bruising, and range of motion limitations. A grade three wrist sprain is the most severe and involves 90% or more of the affected ligament’s fibers being torn. This grade can cause severe to complete range of motion limitations and extensive swelling, pain, tenderness, and bruising.

Ankle Sprains

Another common sprain injury is to the ankle ligaments. Ankle sprains in rafting typically result from a rafter stepping wrong as they enter or exit the raft. This can twist the ankle past its normal range of motion and stretch or tear the ligaments in the ankle. Closely knit rocks, which can entrap the foot and trip the rafter, and fast-moving water, which can throw a rafter off balance, can also contribute to the risk of ankle sprains. The same grades mentioned for wrist sprains apply to ankle sprains.

Products

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Acute Sinew Liniment

Acute Stage Treatment: Rub on the injured area when swelling and/or inflammation are present.

Quickly relieves pain, reduces swelling and inflammation, and breaks up clotted blood and stagnant fluids in the injured area. Stimulates circulation of blood and fluids to help cells quickly repair damaged tissues, providing rapid pain relief and faster healing. Sinew Herbal Ice can be used in-between applications.
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Our price: $39.95
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Chronic Sinew Liniment

Chronic Stage Treatment: Rub on the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather.

Strongly stimulates circulation to damaged tissues and promotes the healing of overstretched tendons, ligaments and muscles, thereby quickly relieving pain, stiffness and weakness. Sinew Injury Poultice, Sinew Relaxing Soak, and the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Sinew Herbal Ice

Acute Stage Treatment: Apply on the injured area when swelling and/or inflammation are present.

This first-aid ice alternative poultice (balm) is used in place of ice to significantly speed up the recovery and healing process. Reduces redness, swelling, and inflammation while dispersing accumulated blood and fluids to help restore normal circulation to the injured area. It reduces the swelling and inflammation more effectively than ice, allowing you to more quickly regain normal range of motion. Acute Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.
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Our price: $34.95
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Sinew Injury Poultice

Chronic Stage Treatment: Apply on the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather.

This poultice (balm) is particularly useful if your injured area is more painful in cold and damp weather. It significantly stimulates circulation to damaged tissues and further promotes the healing of overstretched tendons, ligaments and muscles. Chronic Sinew Liniment, Sinew Relaxing Soak and the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Our price: $37.95
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Sinew Relaxing Soak

Chronic Stage Treatment: Used to soak the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If the injured area is too large or in an area that can’t be submerged in a pot of water, you can also saturate a towel in the liquid and apply it to the injured area.

This soak is particularly useful if you feel restricted mobility in your injured area. It is used to relax muscles, tendons and ligaments that are in spasm to reduce pain and stiffness and improve range of motion. Chronic Sinew Liniment, Sinew Injury Poultice and the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Sinew Sports Massage Oil

This specially formulated massage oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It penetrates deep into muscle layers to warm and stimulate muscles, increase circulation and relieve tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.
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Our price: $29.95
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Sinew Warming Soak

Chronic Stage Treatment: Used to soak the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If the injured area is too large or in an area that can’t be submerged in a pot of water, you can also saturate a towel in the liquid and apply it to the injured area.

This soak is particularly useful if your injured area is more painful and sensitive to cold or hurts more in cold weather. It is used to bring warmth into the injured area to drive coldness out of damaged tissues and increase local circulation, thereby relieving pain and stiffness in cold weather. Chronic Sinew Liniment, Sinew Injury Poultice and the Sinew Relaxing Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Our price: $23.95
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