Useful advice for Injuries
Immediate Treatment is Important
Injury healing can be boosted by appropriate and effective action in the first 72 hours. Any soft tissue, ligaments, tendons and muscles will react to injury in a similar way, known as an inflammatory reaction.
Injuries can be caused by over-stretching, bruising or crushing. A strain describes overstretching a muscle while a sprain is overstretching a ligament or tendon.
The Inflammatory reaction
Tissue injury usually involves damage to small blood vessels that result in bleeding at the site of injury. This bleeding leads to the four main sigcns of inflammation
HEAT- chemicals released from the damaged tissue causes dilation of surrounding blood vessels to bring healing agents to the area. The result is more blood and therefore heat
REDNESS- is due to the increase in blood to the area
PAIN- is caused by the chemicals released from the injured tissue as well as the increased tissue pressure from the fluid acting on nearby nerve endings
SWELLING- is the result of this increased fluid
This inflammatory reaction is necessary as it is a part of the natural healing process. However the body tends to overreact to sudden traumatic injury and as a result more inflammatory fluid accumulates than is necessary for healing. This fluid contains a protein that turns into replacementscar tissue. If too much is allowed to form it may prevent the structure returning to normal function with reduced flexibility and increased risk of re-injury.
Best immediate action
Protect the injured tissue from further stress. This could include rest, bandaging by a professional, slings or crutches, allowing for swelling. Total immobilisation isn't usually necessary or recommended. Apply this for 3-5days depending on the severity.
Rest reduces the energy required for unnecessary increase in blood flow, ensures protection of the area andoptimises healing.
Ice is used to limit the body's overreaction by reducing the temperature of the injured tissue. This helps constrict the blood vessels thereby limitting bleeding and reducing the accumulation of unnecessary tissue protein.
Crushed ice wrapped in a towel, frozen peas or a frozen gel pack will work well. Cover with a towel to prevent ice burn.
The sooner Ice can be applied the better. Apply for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours. If the area is very bony ie the elbow reduce to around 10 minutes. Avoid returning immediately to activity as the ice will have a numbing effect.
Compression limits an unnecessary build up of inflammatory fluid and over production of scar tissue. Simple off the shelf compression bandages such as Tubigrip and adjustable neoprene supports are best for self application. The area should be compressed six inches away from the injury to allow for swelling. It should be flexible as the swelling reduces and should in no way cause you to feel pins and needles around the compressed area.
Use as soon as possible following an injury and continue for 72 hours.
This is important in lowering the blood pressure therefore help limit bleeding and encourage drainage of fluid through the lymphatic system. Use pillows foot stools or slings as soon as possible and for 72 hours following the injury.
Alternatives Northwood is a mult-discipline centre established for over twenty years with Two female Osteopaths, a Podiatrist/Chiropodist, Acupuncturists, Counsellors, Massage, Reflexology, Craniosacral, Amatsu and Reiki Therapists, a Nutritional Therapist and of course, myself. The podiatrist carries out musculoskeletal assessments and gait analysis providing ready made and made to measure orthotics especially for sports people, alongside minor surgery, e.g. ingrown toenail ops and standard chiropody.