Jack Hill’s Experience of Managing Injury
Injuries come in all shapes and sizes, and if you’re training or taking part in sport regularly, they are to a certain extent inevitable – all sports have an intrinsic risk! Reducing injury risk is very important, and something we can discuss at another time (prevention is better than cure!).
It is therefore very important to manage injuries correctly when you do sustain them. Depending on what the injury is, the management can be significantly different, however, here are some broad guidelines;
- If you can feel an injury slowly coming on during sport, the key is to stop before it worsens significantly. This is most common with soft tissue injuries (E.G. you feel your Hamstring stiffening as you run). If you manage to stop in time, you may prevent a more significant injury.
- For traumatic injuries or those of sudden onset, again the key is to not “play through” significant pain – by all means, give the injury a few minutes of rest and try to continue once, but if the pain remains (or worsens!) then stop straight away. This is more common with joint injuries.
- There have been many acronyms over the years (RICE/PRICE etc) – the current one tends to be “POLICE”
- Protection – don’t irritate the injury, stop the aggravating activity/sport, limp home if required (to prevent further loading) and depending on the injury potentially think about bracing
- Optimal Loading – as opposed to rest – some injuries benefit from some gentle movement and loading as opposed to lying still (lying in bed for prolonged times can weaken and stiffen tissues around the injury). Pain is a great thermometer here – any more than a 1-2/10 is likely too much
- Ice – in the first 24 hours ice is very important to prevent any bleeding around the injury or EXCESSIVE swelling (swelling/inflammation is a vital part of the healing process, so we don’t want to completely knock this out – hence why taking anti-inflammatories is NOT advised)
- Compression – similar to ice, compression prevents excessive inflammation/swelling
- Elevation – similar to compression, elevation prevents excessive inflammation accumulating in the injured tissue as gravity aids the flow back to the heart.
- Get checked out! We know injuries take time – and in the short term following POLICE (and common sense) is the most appropriate guidance, however if the pain worsens regardless of sensible care, or you don’t seem to be improving seek a proper assessment from a professional to ensure you’re doing all you can to recover as soon as possible.
Who should you see?
Often it’s hard to know whether you should see your GP, A+E, Walk in Centre of Physiotherapist.
If pain is significant, if you’re unable to move a joint, if there’s an obvious disruption of a joint/bone’s normal shape or significant, ongoing bleeding I’d advise you seek medical attention. Common sense is important here and I can’t walk you through every potential injury you might come across – but if you’re worried then it’s always better to be safe and proceed with caution. Less obvious injuries requiring medical attention are tendon ruptures (often the Achilles Tendon) – these normally make a loud “pop” sound when they occur and feel like you’ve been kicked or hit on the back of the heel – if you turn round and there’s nobody there and you feel like you’ve been kicked (plus can’t quite walk normally) it’s worth seeking medical attention (they can also feel pretty pain free relatively quickly!). Acute onset back pain after a traumatic incident (especially if coupled with leg pain/ pins/needles or any disruption in bladder function) are also worth getting sorted ASAP.
We at Bevan Wilson are very happy to help, and suggest you see us for anything else you’re concerned about, or if injury is taking longer than you’d expect to improve – i.e. a Hamstring muscle cramp hasn’t improved after a week –
We have a team who specialise in various sporting injuries across the body so sure we have somebody perfect to help!
Call 01483 404525