You’ve probably heard of inflammation in the context of injuries before. When you injure yourself, it’s normal to experience some inflammation in the area. This is caused by the body’s response to tissue damage.
So what is inflammation?
Inflammation is actually an immune response: the body is aware of tissue damage and is protecting the area against potential infection.
It has three main actions/purposes:
- Defend the area against harmful substances
- Dispose of the damaged tissue
- Promote healing and renewal of healthy tissue
The main signs of inflammation are:
- Pain (due to chemicals released by damaged cells)
- Swelling (due to an influx of fluid to the area)
- Redness (due to vasodilatation- the widening of blood vessels and bleeding in the joint or structure).
- Heat (because of increased blood flow).
- Loss of function (caused by swelling/pain).
When you have a soft tissue injury along with Inflammation, the best method of treatment to reduce pain and swelling is Rest and Ice. You could also apply a compression bandage to further assist in the reduction of swelling and support the injury.
Applying heat to the area will increase blood flow which in turn increases swelling (and pain).
Rest is equally important as using the injured limb/joint too much can further damage the tissue and lengthen the recovery time.
Following an injury, it’s important to see your Physiotherapist as they will be able to assess the extent of the damage and provide advice and a progressive treatment plan to help you return to normal activities as soon as possible.