MANAGING A NEW INJURY
Everyone has it happen: a small twist of the ankle, a tweak of your knee, or a fall on your wrist. And now that body part is sore, swollen, and you aren’t sure what to do with it. I’m here to give a few tips on how to treat that soreness for the first couple days. First of all, this is a natural response to an injury – our body responds with increasing the circulation to the injury site, bringing “defense” to the area. But too much swelling can increase your pain, decrease your ability to move said body part, and leave you worse for the wear.
Rest: take it easy, try not to use the body part that is sore and swollen. I know it is easier said than done, but moving it in small movements that doesn’t increase your pain is okay, but don’t push it!
Ice: whether it is a bag of frozen corn or peas, or an official ice pack, use it for 20-30 minutes on the part of your body that hurts, then take a rest for 20-30 minutes. You can repeat that as often as you need to. The ice will help decrease the amount of swelling in the area and help with the pain.
Compression: a “gentle hug” from a compressive sleeve or a brace will help decrease the swelling to the area. Ace bandages can work, but don’t pull it too tight! If an ace bandage isn’t applied with equal resistance, it isn’t as helpful.
Elevation: In order for it to be beneficial elevation, your limb should be above your heart by about 8 inches – so grab all the pillows in the house and prop your knee or ankle up! Elevating should be a comfortable position, it should not be painful, so use anything you need to be comfortable!
Anti-inflammatories: 600-800 mg of medicine helps with controlling the amount of swelling to the body part that has been injured, and it is encouraged to take it “as prescribed” meaning if the pill box says to take every 6 hours, take it every 6 hours – that allows for an even amount of medication in your system consistently throughout your day. If that sounds daunting or you are not good at remembering to take medicine, there are topical anti-inflammatory gels that you can use as well.
If the pain does not improve over the next couple of days and you think a second opinion is needed and your doctor’s office is full and you don’t feel it warrants a trip to the emergency room, come see us! Any of our three locations offers a free 30-minute injury screen to help determine what injury has occurred, what the next steps should be, and if we can help by providing physical therapy. You can also come in right away, whatever makes you comfortable in deciding next steps to get you feeling back to normal!