We’ve all been there: you’re walking or running along and all of a sudden you misplace your footing and bam. You’ve rolled your ankle. This is one of the most common sporting injuries we see in clinics and causes the ligaments around the ankle to stretch or tear. More broadly, this sort of injury falls into the category of soft tissue injuries which includes any damage to the tendons, ligaments and muscles throughout the body.
Soft tissue damage has many causes: it can be totally random (like rolling your ankle on bumpy ground), pushing yourself too hard at the gym, or because your muscles are weak and tired from ageing, pregnancy or other conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.
Soft tissue injuries can be really painful and often leads to swelling, bruising and balance issues. Knowing how to manage your soft tissue injury is key to making sure you have the best chance of recovery.
- Management: The ‘RICE’ method is a very effective way of minimising the symptoms of a soft tissue injury (pain, swelling and bruising) just after the injury has occurred.
R: Rest. Be sure to listen to your body and take some time out. This will help the injury heal properly and quickly
I: Ice. Applying ice to the injury is important to bring down swelling and reduce inflammation. When doing do, make sure to apply the ice in 20 minute intervals: 20 minutes ice on, 20 minutes ice off, 20 minutes ice on etc …. Leaving the ice on for too long can damage your nerves which is why it’s important to cycle icing your injuries.
C: Compression. Bandage up the injury. The pressure will prevent swelling and stop bleeding
E: Elevation. Raise up the injured limb. This allows gravity to take over and help direct fluid away from the injury site to reduce swelling
- No H.A.R.M. protocol: The following should be avoided within 48-72 hours after a soft tissue injury to speed up recovery.
Heat: Do not provide heat to the injury. This will only cause blood to flow to the area and results in swelling
Alcohol: Dodge the drink! It increases blood flow and swelling too, and also alters your awareness of an injury that could be getting worse and needs medical care
Re-injury: Please avoid any activities that might worsen the damage to the injury
Massage: Try and avoid massages early on after the injury. Massaging can increase blood flow to the site of injury and this leads to swelling
Practising RICE and avoiding HARM will make sure that you recover from a soft tissue injury as soon as possible. If the pain is particularly severe or persistent, you may benefit from the guidance of a Podiatrist. If you would like further advice on how to manage lower limb soft tissue injuries, please do not hesitate to book an appointment with one of our friendly and highly skilled Podiatrists on 8645 9800 or book online by clicking below.