So many of you may have heard of the RICE technique, particularly if you are involved in sport. What it stands for is Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate. Basically you immobilize a joint and avoid weight bearing on it after you have sustained an injury. This was once the holy grail within the immediate aftermath of an injury. However, times have moved on.
In my honest opinion, the only time that you completely immobilize a joint and avoid weight bearing on it, is when you suspect or are unsure that there may be a fracture near or within the joint. This is when you are unsure of the extent of the damage and when movement is potentially going be extremely painful and potentially making the situation/injury worse.
However, if you know for a fact that you have not fractured, there is no reason not to weight bear on the joint/limb. This can even apply if you have serious ligament damage in the joint. So why is this?
Well if you stop moving the joint, it will simply stiffen up. This will make getting back into movement extremely painful (the longer you don’t move a joint moving, the stiffer it gets making it more painful to move it again). Not only that if you stop moving and weightbearing the joint, you will have unnecessary muscle deterioration in the area. This means that there will be weakness within the joint, which can have knock on effects on the body. If a joint is weak, the rest of your body may start compensating in other areas of the body. For instance, if you have sprained an ankle and avoid walking on it properly, the other leg will be taking all the body weight on it. This can cause problems in the uninjured leg as it is literally doing almost double the work that it usually does.
Also the joint that is injured will have a longer recovery period than necessary. Even if you are potentially needing surgery for the joint due to torn ligaments, your joint/muscles still need it in the best condition they can be in to prevent more deterioration is necessary post surgery, shortening the recovery period after surgery. Therefore, prehab and rehab after an injury is key to speedy recovery no matter the circumstance (unless there is a fracture).
If you know for sure you do not have a fracture and have joint pain/ligament damage/ or are even after recovering post fracture and are looking for physiotherapy and a rehabilitation plan, please call Lorraine on 087 2101 281