Swelling: Thoughts and Tips for Reducing After an Injury

Jul 26, 2021

Micah Smith

by Micah Smith

You twisted your ankle, landed awkwardly from a dismount, or you threw too many dodgeballs at your office team-builder, and now you’re experiencing some pain and swelling. Why does your body react this way? Well, it’s part of the body’s natural healing process, and here are some thoughts and methods to help manage the swelling due to injury.

What causes swelling after an injury?

Swelling is part of the body’s natural healing process. Upon injury, there is an increase in fluid and white blood cells carried to the affected area. This fluid build-up is what causes swelling.

How long does swelling last after an injury?

Depending on the severity and type of injury, swelling can last anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks.

Woman ices injured leg.

What are some methods to reduce swelling?

RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation – are all common ways to reduce swelling. Gentle exercise is good as our muscles act as a natural pump to push fluid out of the affected area. Massage helps the lymphatic system drain swelling from the affected area.

When should someone seek medical help from an injury that is swollen?

If the swelling is not reducing with these methods, it is recommended that one seek medical help. If swelling is due to an injury, the associated damage may need to be addressed for appropriate healing. People experiencing unexplained swelling, such as that not caused by an injury, should always contact their physician for help.

How can a Physical Therapist help reduce swelling?

A PT can help guide one in appropriate RICE methods, apply modalities to help, prescribe gentle exercises that will not further progress injury to the affected area, and perform manual therapy techniques that reduce swelling.

Patient Working Out with elastic bands

Many times swelling may reduce on its own, but if you cannot eliminate the swelling at home, and if pain persists, it is essential to visit your health care practitioner as soon as possible.

Physical therapy can be an excellent tool for those who are recovering from swelling due to an injury. ProActive Physical Therapy provides quality, hands-on physical therapy to patients throughout the greater Tucson area. Our highly trained staff has expertise in many areas and can help you with any pain or injury you might be suffering from. If you’re in pain, schedule a free injury assessment today.

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