It’s the end of January and many of us will have started a new exercise routine. Occasionally we trip, fall or get tackled causing an injury, it’s inevitable. It happens and it just means you’re human!
PhysioCare are here to help and get you back in the game. Our advice is to book the next available appointment with one of our chartered Physiotherapists. Here’s what to do in the immediate time following your injury.
Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
This is the best management practice in the first 24-48 hours following an acute soft tissue injury like a muscle sprain. the RICE approach can improve recovery time and reducepain.
A short period of immobilisation is beneficial, but should be limited to the first few days after injury. This allows the scar tissue to connect the injured muscle stumps to withstand contraction-induced forces without re-rupturing. Rest relates to functions such as weightbearing or any other strenuous activity involving increase of blood flow to the site of injury.
Ice therapy, also known as cryotherapy reduces tissue metabolism and causes blood vessel constriction. This slows and prevents further swelling – an important consideration for early active range of motion exercises. Ice also decreases the propagation of nociceptive neural stimuli to the brain which can reduce pain and muscle spasm. However, applying cryotherapy for an extended period of time can be detrimental to the healing process. Systematic reviews suggest that 10-minute ice treatments combined with 10-minute periods without ice are most effective. The ice pack should be wrapped in a damp towel to minimise the risk of superficial nerve or skin damage.
Compression serves to prevent further swelling as a result of the inflammatory process and also by reducing bleeding at the site of tissue damage. An elasticated bandage can be used to provide a comfortable compression force without causing pain or constricting blood vessels. Bandaging should begin below to the injury and move above, overlapping each previous layer by one half. It can also serve to provide minimal protection of the injured body part from excessive movement in the early acute 48 hours post injury.
Elevation will help control swelling by increasing venous return to the systemic circulation, and reducing hydrostatic pressure thereby reducing swelling and facilitating waste removal from the site of injury.
So there it is, our advice to you in the first 24 hours after an acute injury and in the time before your appointment. Luckily we are in operation Monday to Saturday from 8am to 8pm so we are here to catch you should you fall.