Acute Injury Rehabilitation

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Did you know that seeking Physiotherapy treatment and advice for an acute injury as soon as it happens helps you to manage pain and swelling, prepares your body for optimal recovery, and minimises chances of a long-term prognosis of inhibition to the surrounding area? It’s a no-brainer! Early physiotherapy intervention means a better rehabilitation journey. Physiotherapists are primary care specialists (i.e. You do not need a referral) who diagnose, manage, refer for imaging or further specialist input if required, treat and discharge people in need of care after acute injury. 

What is an Acute Injury? 

Acute injury refers to an injury that happens suddenly. These types of injuries commonly occur due to contact or blow, and can be further broken down into direct, or indirect injury; 

  • Direct: direct contact, for example; defender tackling in rugby and injuring the shoulder. 
  • Indirect: indirect contact, for example; jumping and landing on the ground and twisting your knee. 

Stages of Healing? 

Acute injury goes through three primary stages of healing, including; 

Inflammatory phase (days 1-14):

Inflammation after an injury is important. You have probably noticed that after an injury, the area can become swollen and red. This happens due to the vascular and cellular response to increase blood flow to the area and release chemicals and enzymes to begin the healing process. Cells enter the damaged area to breakdown and digest other damaged cells and sets the bases for the next stage. 

Repair/Sub-acute stage (7 days-6 weeks):

In this stage, swelling begins to decrease and the body begins to repair damaged tissue. This is where a key fibre, called collagen fibre, is layered to form scar tissue. 

 Remodelling phase (2-3 weeks up to months/years):

This is where the newly formed tissue will really start to gain more organisation, tolerance and strength.

 When should I see a Physiotherapist after sustaining an injury, and why? 

The quick and easy answer is that you should seek physiotherapy treatment as soon as possible after sustaining your injury! Why?

The most important aspect for early physiotherapy intervention is load management. There is a fine line between not enough and too much load, therefore, selecting and implementing the correct amount of load to injured tissue will ensure an optimal environment for recovery is provided. 

In the first stage, inflammatory phase, the aim of Physiotherapy is to assess, diagnose and educate you about your injury, help manage and improve pain, and manage swelling. 

Inhibition effects of surrounding tissues and structures can begin to occur soon after injury and can include increased joint stiffness, increased muscle stiffness and increased neural sensitisation, all which can prolong recovery. Early physiotherapy intervention can minimise these inhibitory changes, which will mean a better start to your rehabilitation journey.   

 We’ve seen too many patients who decide not to seek Physiotherapy treatment when they are first injured, because the pain does improve with time. But then weeks, months, or even years later, these injuries have brought them in to see us for constant pain, bones poorly healed, etc. We want your acute injuries to be solved before they become chronic! So you can live a life with less limits. Save our contact details so we can help you, your friends and family, your teammates, when it’s needed. 

Physio Inq Written on behalf of Physio Inq Engadine

Share the article