How to manage an acute injury yourself

Runners knee pain“As a physiotherapist this is a question I get asked a lot and having just completed the Brighton Half Marathon you may be asking the yourself the same question.” says Sundial physio James Masterson.  He goes on to say “So in order to help you with your post run recovery here’s a few useful tips to ease you back to fitness and potentially your next race.”

Physiotherapists love an acronym and what used to be known as RICE or PRICE is now often  referred to in the industry as POLICE.  With each letter relating to a useful management strategy this acronym can be a helpful tool in guiding anyone suffering from an acute injury.

 Protection

Depending on the severity of your injury you may want to use a brace, tapping or in more extreme circumstances casts and crutches, this will help to prevent excessive movement and protect the site of injury.

 Optimal Loading

The key part to remember here is OPTIMAL, the right amount of loading will help stimulate the healing process of a muscle, tendon, ligament and bone. This could be any type of activity such as standing, walking or swimming, however in more serious injuries such as fractures or full tendon ruptures the OPTIMAL load might be no loading and may require casting, crutches or surgical intervention

 Ice

Applying ice during the initial stages of an acute injury can be beneficial for reducing both pain and swelling.  Although medical professionals have been recommending ice for several years the evidence is far from conclusive.  I usually advise my patients to wrap an ice pack in a flannel or thin towel and apply directly on the site of pain for 15 minutes 3 to 4 times daily within the first 72 hours of injury.

 Compression

Similar to ice compression can be used for managing swelling, applying a simple tubigrip or neoprene strap can help to compress the injury site.  The applied compression should be tight but comfortable with good circulation above and below the strapping, I often ask patients to remove the compression for short periods throughout the day and take the strapping of at night to allow the skin time to breath.

Elevation

Can also be very useful in reducing swelling.  For example, if you’ve acutely sprained your ankle lying on your back with your leg raised and supported can reduce the amount of blood rushing to the effected area.  With this specific injury you may wish to do a few ankle pumps to improve the blood flow and help with the healing process.

 At this point it is probably worth mentioning that I recommend anyone to seek medical advice if you are unsure about an injury.  Although the POLICE protocol is a useful tool for managing an acute injury it is not a one size fits all strategy!!  If you are having difficulty weight bearing or have symptoms such as bony tenderness, considerable swelling, loss of range of movement or the feeling of instability in a joint then I recommend seeing a medical professional ASAP.

Sundial Clinics offers a free 20 minute physiotherapy assessment to anyone who would like advice about an injury, this session is a great way to get some useful tips on how best to manage your injury and to see if physiotherapy is right for you.  Why not call the clinic today to arrange a free informal consultation and stop that niggle turning into a pain!

Sundial ready for Brighton Half Marathon

VBHM RunnerWe are making the final preparations for the Vitality Brighton Half Marathon on Sunday 28th February. In three days time we are proud to have a team from Sundial running the race as well as a team offering pre- and post-race massages, all in support of the Sussex Beacon.

The runners are in their final stages of preparation after months of training. They have endured windswept downs and blustery seafront training runs as they gradually clock up the miles to harden their muscles for the task ahead.  Their gaunt stares and smelly gym bags at work give away who is doing the race and who is not. Injury and illness have taken their toll and the full complement is down by two. Hopefully the rest of the Sundial team will remain healthy until they cross the half marathon finishing line on Sunday. The race starts at 9:00 on Madeira Drive so do please come along and support the team who will be running in Sundial colours.

We are also pleased to be part of the support team for the race itself. We have over 40 physiotherapy students from Brighton Medical School helping us out on the day. We will be providing pre- race massages to warm up those stiff muscles and get the blood flowing so the runners can fly round the course. Hopefully a few personal bests will be forthcoming too.

After the race we will help soothe tired and aching muscles and aiding recovery with wonderful massages. Massage also aids recovery so the muscle stiffness over the following days will be reduced. The Massage Tent on Madeira Drive by the Yellow Wave cafe will be a blur of activity as the massage therapists and physio’ students go to work. We expect the first runners will be back about 10:05 with the bulk of runners coming in at around the 10:30-10:45 mark.  We have over 200 massages booked and priority will be given to those that have pre-booked. If you want to  arrange a massage then book here.

Sundial are also the partners providing clinical care and advice for sports injuries for the runners. If you have any niggles then give us a call and our physio’s, chiropractors and massage therapists can see you quickly. All the money raised from the pre-and post race massages will be for the Sussex Beacon and we will be supporting their wonderful work by donating £10 from each new consultation to them too.

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Great stretches for running

Stretching may help reduce injury and improve flexibility in runners. Most runners include stretches in their routine. It is important to prepare your muscles for a run by gently warming up and keep flexible by doing these stretches. These exercises put together by our physio can help stretch the main running muscles.

These stretches should be held for over 30 seconds – don’t rush. Aim to do these exercises once a day although doing them twice a day is three times as beneficial. Stay relaxed and breathe out as you develop the stretch. Develop the stretches gently to avoid overstretching and injuring yourself.

The 3 stretches we recommend for running are: hamstring, hip flexor and calf and here is how to do these.

You can download the stretches for running for free here VBHM stretches

Hamstring stretch

Dynamic hamstring stretch

Sets three each side

Hold 30 to 60 seconds

  • straighten one leg, grabbed the back of your thigh and target your leg towards your chest until you feel a gentle stretch.
  • Bend your leg at the knee slightly coming off the stretch
  • repeat by pushing your heel towards the ceiling
  • alternate your legs

Note: avoid kicking violently or arching your lower back

If it’s shaking your doing it well!

Hip flexor stretch

Hip flexor stretch

Sets three each side

Hold 30 to 60 seconds

  • hands on hips, tuck your tailbone under to flat on your back
  • lean forwards while maintaining a straight posture and keeping your head up
  • avoid arching your low back or letting your hips roll forwards

Note: do it next to a wall if you feel out of balance

Calf stretch

Sets three each sideCalf stretch

Hold 30 to 60 seconds

  • have front toes and knee touching the wall
  • move your foot back a little until you can just about keep your knee against the wall and heel on the floor
  • hold
  • Move the back foot away from the wall to feel a stretch
  • keep back heel on the ground and knee straight as possible
  • hold
  • swap legs

In partnership with the Vitality Brighton Half Marathon

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