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Sports Injury Management

An acute sporting injury can often be quite frustrating, and may result in missed training and game time. However with timely and appropriate physiotherapy management, you will be able to return to sport sooner and decrease the likelihood of injuring the area again.

The initial management of your injury is crucial in improving your overall healing time and outcome. During the first 72 hours following an injury, the body initiates an inflammatory response. This response is a necessary requirement of the body to eliminate damaged cells and start to repair the injured tissues. However if this inflammation is not controlled, excessive swelling may cause pain, loss of movement range, destruction of previously uninjured surrounding structures, and eventually excessive scar tissue.

The following acronym SPRICE highlights steps you can take during these first 72 hours to control this inflammatory response:

Support: aim to support the injured area by using a brace or strapping tape to take the load off the injured tissues.
Protect: consider using crutches when walking, particularly if your injury involves your lower limbs.
Rest: allow the injured area time to heal by resting from activity, especially from weight-bearing sport and work activities.
Ice: wrap an ice pack in a wet towel and place on the injured area for 20 minutes every 2 hours.
Compression: apply compression by using a tubular compression bandage or wrapping a bandage around the limb moving toward the heart.
Elevation: elevate the injured area above the level of the heart to aid in drainage of swelling.

Your physiotherapist can also assist in managing your swelling with treatments such as ultrasound, electrotherapy, massage, bandaging, taping (including kinesiology taping), and prescription of braces.

Following this initial inflammatory response, the injured tissue then undergoes proliferation and remodelling, where new cells are sent to the area and tissue repair begins. It is important in this time to gradually start to load the tissues with appropriate exercises to maximise the strength of the healing tissue. All our physiotherapists are skilled in diagnosing the cause of sporting injuries, and can therefore advise you on the most appropriate exercises for your particular injuries, and can advise you on when to return to sport. Your physiotherapist may also use manual therapy techniques such as soft tissue release and joint mobilisation/manipulation to complement these rehabilitation exercises.