Sports injuries can generally be classified into acute or chronic. These types of injury are treated quite differently.
Acute injuries are those that have had a sudden onset, such as a rolled ankle yesterday. For an acute injury, we aim to calm it down with RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation of the affected area) as soon as possible. Continue this general concept until properly assessed by the physio.
In an acute stage, we avoid HARM (heat, alcohol, running, massage). These things can exaggerate the swelling response which is believed to slow your recovery and present with increased pain.
In an acute stage of treating sporting injuries, we assess the damage. In some cases this could require imaging such as x-ray, but often a clinical assessment by a skilled physiotherapist is comprehensive and ideal.
Treatments in the acute stage should involve some advice on how to best handle this stage of sports injury, for example when should you rest and when do you need to move?
Often some gentle hands on treatment can help calm an acute injury, reduce swelling, reduce subsequent/excessive guarding of the area so you recover at a rate that is as fast as possible.
The acute phase of a sporting injury is typically up to one week, though there is quite a lot of variation of this time frame.
Chronic Injuries are those that have been persistent for a longer time- such as a long-term tight hamstring that flares up and slows your running down. These injuries are usually sporting injuries that people struggle through despite being uncomfortable and restricted or competitors may often feel they need time away from sport.
Chronic injuries really need a thorough whole body assessment to help work out some of the contributing factors or issues that may be stopping the injury from healing. Some disfunctions in the body may be causing one area to constantly under stress when playing sport, as such it stays injured or gets repeatedly injured.
Remember that tissues heal in our body, and often what's keeping something hanging around longer that that is the way our bodies have adapted to being injured-meaning we are functioning, but in a less than ideal way, so we remain plagued by these chronic sporting injuries.
Once identified, the factors affecting movement and healing need to be addressed to allow the body to get over the chronic sporting injury. This may involve strengthening weak or inhibited muscles, improving range of joint movement, releasing overactive areas, improving postures and facilitation of blood delivery and drainage to the area. Many techniques help with these objectives, such as Strain Counterstrain, Dry Needling, Massage, and Exercise Prescription.
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Body Matters Physio takes a thorough holistic approach to treatment. Highly recommended, especially for those with chronic symptomology.