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A Recipe for Recovery

August 13, 2013

After an injury you should rest and protect the injured or sore area as soon as possible.  You’ll want to avoid activities that cause any pain or swelling.  As the healing process begins and your injury improves, use your current situation as a reason to get creative with your workouts while protecting the injured area.   Try new activities or pieces of equipment that you might not have tried pre-injury while keeping the injured area mobile and pain free, such as an exercise bike with no resistance, or elliptical with minimal resistance.
As soon as you’re able, apply an ice or cold pack to the injured joint or limb to prevent or minimize swelling.  This cold pressure will help to reduce pain along with inflamation.  You’ll want to plan on putting the ice or cold pack on for 10 to 20 minutes, three or more times per day.  To avoid frostbite and subsequent skin damage, make sure to avoid placing ice directly on the skin, instead place a thin towel between the two.
Compressing or wrapping the injured or sore area with an elastic bandage (such as an Ace wrap) will help decrease swelling by forcing excess fluid away from the site.  Compression should be gradual and you’ll want to loosen the bandage if you experience numbness, tingling, increased pain, coolness, or swelling in the area below the bandage as it may be too tight.  Talk to your health professional if you think you need to use a wrap for longer than 48 to 72 hours.
Gravity helps reduce swelling by draining excess fluid away from the site of the injury.  Try elevating the injured area on pillows above your heart while applying ice anytime you are sitting or lying down.
TC Fit Disclaimer
R.I.C.E. is not a substitute for medical treatment.  If your injury is severe or not improving with self-management in 2-3 days, seek the guidance of your medical professional immediately.