Understanding Injuries and the Healing Process:
Injuries are very common especially in sports. It is crucial they are treated appropriately to avoid causing long term problems. Understanding the healing process will help explain what the body goes through after injury.
Whenever an injury has occurred, an inflammatory process will start. This is true whether you have had a soft-tissue injury or a fracture. The initial stages of inflammation involve swelling as the tissues start to heal themselves. The injured tissue is then gradually absorbed and new tissue is laid down.
The degree and location of your injury will determine whether you need to seek treatment. You will have a faster return to sport and will ensure the best recovery if your injury is seen straight away rather than waiting for it to become chronic or for other problems to develop.
Speeding up the healing process:
- When there is swelling, in the initial stages of injury, use RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation)
- Start gentle movements of the injured area. There may be a small amount of discomfort, but it is generally better to keep a joint moving, to avoid it becoming stiff. The movement also helps pump away the swelling.
- As the swelling subsides, gentle stretches can be commenced. This is normally when the new tissue is being laid down and the stretches help align the tissue, as it heals
- As the movement returns it is essential to start strength exercises. People quite often focus too heavily on stretching and forget about the importance of strengthening