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Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Hints from Jill Kerr Physiotherapy Edinburgh

A few helpful hints on what to do when injured!

Ankle Sprain

Firstly check if you can put your full weight onto the affected leg. If you can manage this immediately then the injury will tend not to be as severe. If you cannot put weight on it go to Accident and Emergency.

The most likely structures injured are the lateral ligaments which are over stretched with the sprain. Try and walk as normally as you can, if you cannot stop limping you may benefit from the use of crutches.

Think POLICE…… when injured:

Protect you ankle from further stresses, this might include wearing a support, strapping or use of crutches

Optimal Loading of the joint to facilitate the best healing environment. This can mean moving and walking without aggravating the pain.

Ice with some movement can reduce the swelling. Protect your skin from ice burns with a damp face cloth and never leave on for more than 10 minutes at a time.

Compression can prevent further swelling but must not restrict normal circulation.

Elevation of the leg in a supported way with pillows can aid with the reduction of the swelling.

Generally speaking ligaments like movement and keeping the ankle still for extended periods will result in the joint feeling stiff.

So think little and often movements within pain restrictions. It is important to work on Balance and proprioception exercises once the ankle is starting to heal. This is for future injury prevention.

Physiotherapy can help to facilitate the healing environment and work on the rehabilitation of the ankle to try to prevent future problems.

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is a common overuse injury involving the tendon of the wrist extensors where they attach at the elbow. It tends to occur when you start a new activity or make a sudden increase in demand of those tendons. It can occur with tennis but often is from other activities such as decorating.

Tendons are responsible for transmitting forces from the muscles to the bony attachments and can store energy. When painful they need to have some rest from the aggravating activities and then have a progressive strengthening programme to get them used to the demands you have in your life.

Physiotherapy can direct patient on appropriate loading for the tendons and treatments available can help to alleviate the painful aspect of the tendinopathy.

Even when the pain has subsided take a graded approach to return to full activity to prevent a flare up!

Hamstring Muscle Strain

The hamstrings are never used 100% of their full capacity but can be injured through over-stretching or in a more explosive manner when sprinting.

Muscles have 2 functions to contract to move a joint and to lengthen when not contracting. When injured muscles will tend heal more effectively when early muscle pain free contraction is introduced.The POLICE principles above apply to this type of injury!

Progressing through a rehabilitation programme is key to get the appropriate strength and agility back in the tissues. Very often athletes return too quickly to full activity and have a recurrence of the problem.

Do not overstretch muscles prior to activity and ensure an appropriate cool down has been undertaken to prevent over tight shorted muscles.

Physiotherapy helps to facilitate the healing process and guide the rehabilitation programme to full recovery of the hamstring muscle.

Why Early Physiotherapy?

The benefit of early Physiotherapy intervention in all of these types of injuries can prevent some of the pain from the injury as well as facilitate the best healing environment for the tissues and future problems. Even one session of understanding what is happening within your body and what you can do to help yourself can make all the difference to how long your injury lasts or gives you pain.

Jill Kerr Physiotherapy is dedicated to giving you the most up to date information and advice on your injury and will not treat you unnecessarily. A full explanation of the problem and what you can do to help yourself as well as a hands on approach will be given if appropriate at the first session.

Jill Kerr is co- author of the textbook book A Practical Approach to Orthopaedic Medicine 3rd Edition 2010 by Elsevier and is currently writing the next Edition titled A Practical Approach to Musculoskeletal Medicine due out in 2015.

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