Should I just rest to help my injury?

If you have recently been injured, it is first of all paramount that you see your Chartered Physiotherapist for a full assessment, to determine the nature and extent of the injury. If this is a common occurrence for you, and you are planning on putting your feet up for a week, then this blog is definitely for you.

Rest after sustaining an injury is good. However, excessive rest and lack of movement should be avoided, in the same way that ignoring your injury and pushing through the pain should be avoided. Resting or immobilisation of an injured muscle or ligament is good in the initial day or two after an injury, when the start of the inflammatory process is taking place. However, the healing tissues should be gradually loaded and put under stress. (The specific tissues involved may vary in the length of immobilisation). 

The reason we gradually load the injured tissues is to promote a rich healing environment. Putting load through the healing structures allows movement of blood and oxygen to the area, which brings nutrients that facilitate healing. At a cellular level, loading the injured tissue encourages activation of cells that help to lay down new collagen. 

If you make the decision to completely offload the injured tissue for a week or longer, then the healing area will struggle to get the necessary blood flow and nutrients that it requires for an optimal healing response. 

So, whether you have injured muscle, ligament or bone, the principle is still the same. Wolff’s law states that our tissues will adapt in relation to the demands we put on them. No demands (complete rest) means no adaptation. No adaptation means a much more difficult return to the activities or sport you love. 

If you have suffered an acute injury and are unsure of how to commence loading it, go see your Chartered Physiotherapist for a full assessment and management plan.

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