Initial Injury Management - Self Help Guide Part 2
Updated: Aug 3
Welcome to part 2 of our Injury Management Self Help Guide. Advice without the marketing!
The final section of this series supplements part 1 by providing information about what not to do and what to avoid when an injury occurs and in the 24-48 hours after.
WANT A QUICK SUMMARY? Scroll straight to the bottom of this blog!
In the initial stages of the injury it is definitely beneficial to try and make sure that the limb is protected and that you set yourself up to return from injury as best as possible. With this in mind, it is very important to do no HARM to the area and the tissues involved. An easy way to remember elements to avoid when thinking about treating an injury in the initial stages is exactly that.... no H.A.R.M! (Heat, Alcohol, Running, Massage).
Try and avoid excessive heat when you may have injured tissue. This might be a little strange to fathom as most people believe that a nice hot bath will relax tissues. Yes, this may be right however, it is believed that with this increase in heat, it may also increase bleeding in the site of injury. This links in well with the principle of reducing the potential size of the haematoma found in Part 1 of this blog. Based on this, avoid hot showers, baths, saunas, heat packs and heat rubs.
This might be one that most people don't think about especially when finishing a rugby/football/netball match and sometimes there might be nothing better than a bevvy with the rest of the team! However, you might need to think twice about this, especially after an injury. It has been shown that a moderate consumption of alcohol after eccentric based leg exercises significantly increased the loss of dynamic and static quadricep strength. This basically means that after alcohol, muscle strength can be lost. Also, it is known that alcohol can mask the presentation of pain making judging the current level of tissue damage difficult.
Excessive physical activity whilst injured is not a good thing, most people know that. If you've read Part 1, this mentions that 'Optimal Loading' is the best option rather than excessive physical activity. Not sure how much is optimal? this is where a Registered Sports Rehabilitator comes into play, giving advice about current tissue modelling and healing.
Massage/Vigorous Soft Tissue Therapy
This might be another which counter-acts current views of athletes and coaches all around the country. Vigorous Massage and other soft tissue therapies (such as cupping, acupuncture and sports massage) should be avoided in the initial 24-48 hours. This is simply due to the treatment being very hands on and mainly involving manipulation of tissues in one way or another and therefore can cause additional bleeding and tissue damage at the site of injury.
Its probable worth noting that despite avoiding these elements for the first 24-48 hours, seeing a qualified and registered health professional will give you the information you need to progress from this initial stage into being able to do all of the above thing, safely!
The main things to avoid 24-48 hours after an injury are excessive amounts of heat and alcohol. Also try and avoid moderate activity and treatments such as massage. The reason being that the body is fantastic at healing itself, in the initial stages, it is important that we let the body do this without doing anything to stop that. Don't forget.... do no H.A.R.M!
*Disclaimer: The information which is summarised herein does not constitute professional advice, injury diagnosis, treatment or rehabilitation and is general in nature. It does not consider specific circumstances and the information within should not be acted on without an appointment with a qualified musculoskeletal practitioner. All information included in this, and future blogs, is for entertainment purposes only.