The acronym H.A.R.M outlines the key things you should NOT do after an injury in order to maximise healing and recovery. This stands for applying heat, drinking alcohol, running or massage. H.A.R.M covers the factors that you should avoid in the first 48-72 due to an increase in swelling and pain that could place you in further risk of damaging your injury.
Taking a hot shower, applying a heat pack or going into saunas/ steam rooms should be avoided in the early stages of injury.
When heat is applied over the area of injury it will dilate the blood vessels and increase the blood circulation the area. This can exacerbate the injury as it will induce swelling and could increase bleeding in the area.
Drinking alcohol in the early stages of an injury will also dilate the blood vessels and increase the blood flow to the injury site. Contributing to increased inflammation and potential bleeding.
Drinking alcohol can also decrease your perception on the severity of the injury by reducing your pain threshold. When alcohol numbs the pain of the injury, you may think you can perform certain activities because you don’t feel pain at the time. However, this will exacerbate the injury causing further damage and can prolong the healing time.
3. Running/ Exercise
Not only does exercise increase your heart rate, which causes blood to accumulate in the area faster, contributing to swelling and bleeding of the injury site.
But performing exercise increases the likelihood of reinjury or further damage to the initial injury. This is because the damaged tissues are unable to cope with the load/ movement that it involves. It is important to avoid exercise to allow the body to rest and promote healing.
Massaging directly over the area will stimulate blood flow to the area, increasing inflammation and aggravate the damaged tissues. This soft tissue manipulation will increase muscle soreness/ pain experienced. In saying this, Physiotherapist may massage the injury distally to the injury site to reduce swelling.
For initial management of a knee injury Pivotal Motion would suggest using the acronym RICER (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate, Refer). However, it is crucial to see a Physiotherapist as soon as possible to prevent aggravation of your injury.
The team at Pivotal Motion Physiotherapy are here to help! Call 07 3352 5116 or book an appointment online.