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Swelling & Acute Injury Management

Suffering with an inflammatory condition or spraining a joint and it’s ballooned?

 

Although it can be painful, swelling and inflammation are actually natural and necessary parts of the healing process. That swelling or inflammation is your body’s way of increasing blood flow to the injured site, which will; 

  • Protect it from further damage, 

  • Remove waste and damaged cells from the site and 

  • Prevent infection.

To help manage the pain and swelling we recommend: 

“P.OL.I.C.E” 

POLICE - no don’t call 999! Instead, follow these principles below:

 

P - Protect. You want to ensure you don’t over strain a healing joint. In layman's terms: take constant breaks to see how you feel and if you should use the joint a bit more or give it a rest.

 

OL - Optimal Loading. You want to find out how much weight you should be putting through a joint. For example, if you have an ankle injury you might need some crutches to offload the joint while it heals. If you’re not sure about what your OL is then it’s recommended that you reach out to a physiotherapist. They can assess you and advise you accordingly and prescribe you some walking aids or a sling if required. 


I - Ice ice Baby! Applying ice can reduce swelling as it causes blood vessels to narrow (this is called vasoconstriction), and reduced swelling will result in a less painful injury. There’s debate in medical circles about the effectiveness of applying ice to an ankle injury - research suggests that it has minimal benefit. However top surgeons, other physiotherapists, clinical practices and here at PHT have seen it benefit patients. Trust us, it works wonders!

You’ve probably seen people using a bag of frozen peas to soothe an injury - frozen veggies will definitely do the job if you don’t have an ice pack on hand. 

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C - Compress. Here’s a PHT top tip: manage your swelling and in turn you will manage your pain! As well as ice, you can manage swelling by compressing the area, if it's practical.

See the video below!