Most athletes will be very conscientious about caring for their bodies. They will warm up, cool down and eat well. Despite this, accidents happen and at some point we all succumb to injury. How we deal with the early stages of the injury is intrinsically linked to the overall recovery time that we can expect. Many athletes find that by using the RICE technique immediately after an injury occurs, they can alleviate initial pain and long-term damage.
Rest – Following an injury you should rest for at least 24-48 hours. Resting will not only help to prevent bruising but continuing to put weight on an injury could quite likely increase damage to the affected area.
Ice – An ice or cold pack should be applied to the affected area as soon as possible after the occurrence of the injury and held for 10-20 minutes. This helps to reduce pain, swelling and bruising when repeated several times a day for the first few days after the injury.
Compression – An elastic bandage or compression sleeve used on the affected area can also help to reduce swelling. If any coolness, tingling or numbness is experienced this may mean that the bandage or sleeve is wrapped too tightly and could lead to lack of circulation and swelling in the area below the wrap.
Elevate – Keeping the injured area elevated above the heart will help to drain any excess fluid and subsequently reduce swelling.
Following the initial aftercare of an injury it is a good idea to book an appointment with a physiotherapist. They will help to ensure the best possible recovery by providing a holistic approach tailored to each athlete’s individual requirements. There are many different approaches to treatment including manual therapy, hydrotherapy and acupuncture. A highly qualified physiotherapist will be able to advise you of the best approach for your recovery.
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