Aches and pains happen to everyone, and occur during sport, at home or at work. Whether it’s a pain in your shoulder when you reach to grab something falling off a shelf, tightness in your back when your bat makes contact with the ball, or a quick twist of your ankle during a run, our daily activities may put us at risk for injury.
These injuries are soft tissue injuries and are usually the result of a sudden, unexpected or uncontrolled movement like stepping awkwardly or rolling your ankle.
An injury is not always cause for alarm. So, when is it okay to just shake it off?
After your injury, one of the first things you can do is apply the RICE formula and wait a few days before determining if you are ready to resume your regular routine.
The RICE formula is:
- Rest: Take time to rest, and avoid activities that may cause pain
- Ice: Wrap ice cubes or a frozen item in a towel, and apply to the affected area
- Compression: Apply a bandage that covers the whole joint; do not restrict circulation, as that will cause more pain
- Elevation: When possible, raise the injured limb above your heart to reduce swelling, and support it with cushions or a sling when you are not active
You may be asking yourself, “When do I seek professional help from an Orthopedist or Physical Therapist?” If you experience a pop or crack sound, accompanied with pain at the time of your injury you should seek immediate attention.
If your symptoms do not improve within 24-48 hours, it is suggested you seek medical attention immediately – especially if you experience any of the following, as it may be a sign of tissue damage:
- The intensity and progression of the pain continues to increase
- Swelling is not subsiding
- Bruising is getting worse
- You are unable to put weight on, or use, the injured area
- The area surrounding the injury is also painful
- You experience numbness, and/or ‘pins and needles’ sensation
When in doubt, get help! Getting to know your body and when to go to the doctor can help you get back to your normal activity sooner. Consulting with a Physical Therapist or an Orthopedist will provide you with an appropriate diagnosis along with hands-on-treatment and exercises that can promote a speedy recovery.
Amanda Brick PT, DPT