The time immediately following a leg injury can be one of confusion and questions. Below are tips and suggestions on how to best manage your injuries in the early post-injury period.
The goal in the first one to two weeks is to control your pain and allow normal healing to take place.
Acute leg pain is due to mechanical forces that injure pain sensitive tissues in your leg. Physiotherapists use hands-on techniques to relieve the mechanical strain, control pain and allow the injured tissues to heal naturally.
Your doctor may suggest medication to help control pain. The two most common medications are anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen with codeine. Take these medications with food. If you experience stomach pains, stop the medication and seek medical advice.
The P.R.I.C.E. Routine
|Protection||Properly applied sports tape or braces will protect the injured joint from re-injury.|
|Rest||Avoid vigorous activity and prolonged weight bearing.|
|Ice||To help control pain and swelling, apply an ice pack for 15 minutes every few hours.|
|Compression||An elastic bandage will help control swelling, but should not interfere with circulation.|
|Elevation||Keep your foot and knee elevated above your heart to help drain out swelling.|
|Exercise||Do ankle pumping up and down while elevated to speed the drainage of fluids.|
At some point in the first two to four weeks you should start a graduated stretching program designed to recover your lost mobility. Stretches should be taken to the point of moderate tension, held for five to ten seconds and repeated in sets of ten. Try to perform several sets of ten throughout the day instead of many all at once. Exercises causing progressive worsening or spreading of pain should be stopped and reviewed by your Physiotherapist.
Hip and Buttock
Lie on your back, pull your left knee up and across the body towards your right shoulder using your right hand. Repeat on the right side.
Lie on your back, left knee bent and foot on floor. Hold your right leg behind the knee with laced fingers. Slowly straighten the right knee using your thigh muscle. Repeat on the left side.
Sit on side of bed with foot in mid-air. Keep your knee still as your draw large circles with the front part of your foot and ankle.
Hip and Knee Flex
Use a strap looped around your foot to progressively pull your knee towards your chest.
Self-help Do’s and Don’ts
- Use the P.R.I.C.E. routine.
- Maintain maximal mobility within the pain-free range of motion during the acute phase.
- Begin to restore joint mobility in the sub-acute phase.
- Consult your Doctor. Your Physician will guide your recovery and prescribe appropriate medication and treatment.
- Force movements through pain or perform movements and activities that increase the overall resting pain such that sleep is disturbed.
- Allow your leg to hang down in the acute phase. Keep the foot elevated above your heart to drain swelling out of the leg.
- Walk with a limp. Use crutches or a cane to decrease stress, but allow a normal walking pattern.
If you need more help
Accurate passive movement of the joints performed by a qualified practitioner such as a “Manipulative Physiotherapist” can help restore movement and regain normal function. Techniques used should be pain-free and used for brief periods to avoid long term dependence.
This modality uses very high frequency sound waves to aid in the healing of soft tissue injuries. It is most useful in the early stages of tendon injury repair.
Bracing and Orthotics
Splints and braces can help relieve the mechanical strain at your knee and ankle. Custom made orthotics can maximum foot function and relieve stress. Canes and crutches help relieve stress during walking when used correctly.