Acute Injury Treatment

How To Deal With Acute Injuries

Acute means any injury that has just happened (in the last 24-48 hours). Tissue damage whether, muscle, tendon, ligament or joint, triggers the bodies inflammatory response. This response is necessary to help prevent further injury and commence healing; however the body generally over responds and this can lead to a slower return to normal function. Therefore the aim of acute injury treatment is to control the body’s inflammatory response.

“The aim of acute injury treatment is to control the body’s inflammatory response.”

Signs & Symptoms of Acute injury (Inflammation)

PAIN- over an area often starts immediately after you are injured but can take longer.

SWELLING- usually develops over the first 24 hours after the injury, the speed at which the swelling develops can indicate the structures damaged. You may get swelling away from the damaged tissue (e.g. a bad knee injury can lead to ankle swelling).

REDNESS/BRUISING – inflammation in the damaged area often causes redness, especially if there is swelling. Bruising usually develops later (sometimes you may get bruising away from the damage tissues- this is due to bleeding from the injury reaching the skin in different areas).

LOSS OF RANGE OF MOTION- acute injury often leads to surrounding muscle spasm and a reduced ability to move the joint or the tissues involved, this is the bodies self protective mechanism.

What should you do?

RICED- is the acronym to remember when dealing with acute injury

REST- if you continue to use an injured area, it may lead to more severe tissue or joint damage and will definitely cause more inflammation, prolonging your recovery.

ICE- is used to reduce the inflammation, redness and swelling. It also reduces surrounding muscle spasm and pain.

COMRESSION- strapping or bandaging can often reduce the amount of swelling and provides protection for the area. *Be careful not to compress the area too much.

ELEVATION- supporting the injury (especially if it is the arm or leg) above the level of the heart can reduce the amount of swelling, as it reduces blood flow to the damaged area.

DRUGS- anti-inflammatory medication can help to reduce pain, swelling and muscle spasm. *Always seek the advice of your GP or pharmacist before taking any medication.

Download article in a printable format here