5 things you can do NOW for your injury...
It’s Wednesday evening.. which means it’s Oztag night!! You go straight from work and arrive exactly on time. You haven’t been able to warm up properly and you go for a sprint after the ball. Suddenly, you feel a sharp intense pain hit the back of your thigh like someone had just kicked you. You limp your way to the sideline as you disappointingly slap ice onto your hamstring and slump into the chair as you tell your teammates that you’re done for the night.
Does this sound terrifying familiar?? If so, don’t worry, below are 5 crucial things you can do in the first 7 days with these types of injuries.
1.) Protection - You do not want to make the injury worse than it is, so it is crucial to protect the area. Avoid any aggravating activities. General rule of thumb is if it causes you to wince, try to avoid that movement or activity.
2.) Optimally Load - Studies suggest that the faster you normalise movement, the faster you allow the tissue to heal and also prevent any secondary pains that may fester from poor movement patterns (Example: Sore lower back as a result from limping lop-sided). This goes back to the previous point of PROTECTION. You want to keep your movement below your painful limit, so you do not make the injury worse, however still try move as much as you can within your limit.
3.) Ice - within the early 3-4 days, ice is a great way to control the pain that you’re in. A good start is the 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off rule. This may also help control the swelling and bleeding in the injured area because quite often, the swelling and pain you feel early on, is the body’s over-response to the injury.
4.) Compression - Using a compression bandage or sport’s strapping tape is a great way to help control pain, support the injured tissue and control the swelling. It may also act as a helpful reminder to you to be careful and not go sprinting after the kids anytime soon.
5.) Elevation - lastly, this method is to help control the swelling as we use gravity to our advantage. Try your best to place the injured area up above your heart (example: if you injured your ankle, lie on your back with your foot on a few pillows). This is to help direct the swelling back towards the heart region and away from the injured area.
After following the advice above, I would still make an appointment as soon as possible with a local physiotherapist to see if your injury requires a referral to another medical professional or whether there are any other exercises you should be doing in the moment.
Thanks for reading, stay strong and keep healthy.