Body Health

I’m injured! Should I see a physiotherapist?

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Ever twisted your ankle at the gym and played the ‘wait and see’ game because you’re not sure whether to visit the physio or not? You aren’t alone.

But ignoring the signs cause your injury to take longer to heal – or even worse – cause it to never heal correctly leaving you more likely to get re-injured again in the future. Here are some tips on when you should bite the bullet and make an appointment to see a doctor or physio.

Don’t forget to RICED

If you’ve got bruising, a strain or a sprain, remember that the first 24-48 hours after injuring yourself are the most important.

  • Rest
    Stop moving the affected area to prevent further injury, if it’s your foot take your weight off it.
  • Ice
    While heating and massage may seem like a good option, warmth keeps the blood vessels open and can encourage further bruising, bleeding and swelling if you do it too soon following an injury. Get an ice pack or a pack of frozen veges wrapped in a towel (the towel will prevent ice burn) and ice the affected area for 20 mins every two hours for 48 hours after your injury.
  • Compression
    Firmly bandage the injury to help reduce swelling and bleeding, however, don’t cut off the circulation to the affected area. If it’s tingling or numb the bandage may be too tight.
  • Elevation
    Raising the injured area on a pillow helps to reduce bleeding and swelling while providing support. Keep it up there as long as you can.
  • Diagnosis
    As we mentioned before, if it hasn’t improved within 48 hours, consult a physiotherapist or doctor to ensure you get the right help and treatment.

You can’t control the pain from your injury

If over-the-counter pain medication and RICED doesn’t help, see a doctor or physio. Also, when it comes to foot/leg injuries, hobbling around also isn’t ideal; if you’re hobbling you’re still injured and not resting it up like you should be!

If anything, a professional will be able to further assess your situation to ensure there aren’t any bone fractures etc. and may be able to provide you with a better option for pain management and treatment.

Your injury isn’t improving

We’re not talking about the muscle soreness you usually get 24-48 hours after a workout; but the kind of pain that hangs around for more than a few days. If it’s still painful after this time period, you should seek professional help. Don’t ignore it and definitely don’t continue to work it!

For more info, check out:

ACC
Red Cross First Aid courses

Photo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Stuart Miles

Article brought to you by NZ Real Health

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