Over the years since I have been practicing there is one question that I am asked a lot; “What should I do to recover quickly when I am injured”. Historically the advice we are given is R.I.C.E. Which is to rest it, ice it, compress it and elevate it. This advice is aimed at helping to reduce the inflammation and swelling that can occur after an acute injury. This advice does still hold true, however, only for around the first 48 hours. Research has now shown that the main bleeding and inflammation stage of an injury usually peaks at around 3 days.
After this phase the body will move into the Proliferation phase. This phase involves the body laying down scar tissue and trying to effectively heal and fill the tear of damaged area with collagen fibres (which all tissue is made up of). During this phase if we continue to simply rest the area and not move it, the fibres are laid down in all different directions which can then cause problems with mobility and flexibility.
Due to the above it is now universally accepted that the RICE method is now replaced with POLICE. As you can see the I.C.E is still in there. However instead of rest with have Protection and Optimal Loading.
Protection – This represents the first few days when the inflammation and bleeding phase is at its peak. During this time, it is essential that we protect the area from any future damage and make sure that the body has time to start to heal.
It is also in these first few days that it is important to recognise that the inflammation is GOOD FOR THE INJURY! It is commonplace for people to immediately reach for the ibuprofen after an acute injury such as rolling your ankle. However, this has now been shown to have an adverse effect on healing if taken within the first 24-48 hours. Therefore it is worth noting that we need to hold off the ibuprofen for the first few days and rest instead.
Optimal Loading – Simply put this means after the first few days we need to start trying to gently move the injured area and try and maintain the range of movement and also put a gentle load through the area to help align the collagen fibres that are being laid down. Progressive loading of an injured tissue is more likely to help restore the strength and promote tissue structure change. However, it is also important to note that too much load will lead to more damage and a regression back into the inflammatory stage of healing.
Due to the above I would always advise that if you do have an acute injury it is really important to see a medical professional around 5-7 days after the event so they can start giving you the correct exercises to get you back and quickly as possible. Leaving the issue can lead to a build up of scar tissue and ultimately a reinjury.
Ultimately the message here is getting advice early when sustaining an injury can dramatically shorten your time out with injury and get you out of pain a lot quicker.
If you are interested in learning more about how to prevent and manage injuries The Thornbury Clinic are doing a free talk on Tuesday, the 18th of February at the Thornbury Leisure Centre. The talk will discuss the common injuries seen and the ways to manage these injuries. To book on just contact them on 01454838366 or go to www.thethornburyclinic.co.uk Or click HERE
This Blog was Written By Guy. To book an appointment with Guy Click Here