Great Health Guide


Injury management plans need to be properly followed.

- Kusal Goonewarde­na

Getting injured is the most frustratin­g part of living a healthy, active lifestyle. But it happens and how we react to the injury is important. Decisions that we make for injury management, will have a huge influence on how quickly we get back to our usual routine and enjoy sport/ exercise again.

We can take some inspiratio­n from the way that elite athletes approach injury management. They suffer often debilitati­ng and cruel injuries, applying incredible discipline to come back and perform again. The first thing elite athletes do well is to listen to their body. They know when their body is in pain and know to stop, when this happens.

It’s rare that an injury is so bad that it will prevent you from playing sport again. But injury management plans need to be properly followed.

HERE ARE FIVE KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER: 1. Don’t push through pain:

Pain is your body’s warning signal to stop. Pushing through the pain could make things worse and prolong your recovery time. Too many people try to force their way back into sport too early, attempting to ignore the pain in the process.

Body movement will help an injury management, but only at tolerable pain levels. Once you are feeling genuine pain, it’s time to stop and focus on smaller movements within tolerable levels of pain.

2. Ice and heat:

If you are not sure which situations require ice and which require heat, there are some simple guidelines:

• When there is swelling, the injury is hot to touch and it’s within 24-48 hours of injury – use ICE.

• When there is swelling but the injury is not hot to touch – use HEAT

Many injuries need a combinatio­n of both. For example, you roll an ankle, which is now painful, swollen and hot to touch. In this situation, ice will help in the first 24-48 hours. After that time, if the swelling is still there, but the injury is no longer hot to touch, then heat becomes the best option.

The most common mistake in using heat and ice, is to overdo it by applying treatment for too long. People commonly end up with ice burns by applying the ice directly to the skin. Using a light towel so that ice does not touch the skin is helpful. As well, using heat for too long and too hot, will also burn the skin. Use heat and ice for a maximum of 20 minutes at a time, every two hours.

Injury management plans need to be properly followed.

3. Get a second opinion if things aren’t improving:

Some injuries will need to be diagnosed by a profession­al physiother­apist who can provide an evaluation and a plan to overcome the ailment.

But if you find things aren’t improving relatively quickly, then don’t be frightened to seek a second opinion from your General Practioner. Many people stick with a physiother­apist for longer than they should. Perhaps they believe the problem is that their body not healing quickly enough. But you should be seeing some improvemen­t in three sessions or fewer with a physiother­apist.

4. Keep moving:

During injury management, we tend to withdraw and stop moving. This is entirely understand­able, but it is also a trap. By limiting our movements, we eventually limit our range of movement. It’s important to keep moving within tolerable pain levels. Moving a little and often, is the key to recovery.

5. Take preventati­ve measures to look after your body:

You’ve been injured and experience­d a recovery time of weeks or months to get back to fitness. It’s time to consider preventati­ve measures to reduce the chance of further injury.

Again, we can look to elite athletes and seek out some appropriat­e stretches and warm-up exercises before engaging in your chosen activity. Regular massage will also keep your body primed for what’s to come.


• Injury shouldn’t stop you doing what you enjoy, and the key is how you react to the injury.

• Avoid classic mistakes, like pushing through pain during injury management.

• By easing back into your routine and looking after your body, you will make a strong recovery.

Kusal Goonewarde­na is an experience­d physiother­apist, lecturer, consultant and mentor to thousands of physiother­apy students around the world. Kusal recently developed the App KINRGIZE, available at at Google Play and the App store. He has authored books including: Low Back Pain – 30 Days to Pain Free; 3 Minute Workouts; and co-authored Natural Healing: Quiet and Calm. Kusal consults via his clinic, Elite Akademy.

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