How long should swelling last after an injury?
Typically, swelling should last for a few hours up until a few days after your injury occurred. You may also develop bruising in the area in the first few hours and will be particularly noticeable the following day; it may turn the entire affected area to a deep purple or black color. It is important that you keep an eye on your swelling, as it can indicate a potentially more serious injury, depending on when it occurs and how long it lasts.
For instance, if you experience swelling within the first two hours following your injury, then it is likely caused by hemarthrosis – which is when blood and swelling occur within a joint. If this occurs than it needs to be checked out by a physician, as it can indicate either a ligament injury or a possible fracture. Additionally, you should be looking out for chronic swelling, which can be harmful if it is not treated; chronic swelling will last a long time and if it lasts for longer than two to three weeks, than you should see your physician for treatment.
How long does it take to recover from a soft tissue injury?
The length of time that it will take for you to recover from a soft tissue injury will be determined by what is referred to as the ‘grade’ of the injury – or, to put it more simply, how severe the injury was. Soft tissue injuries are classified as being mild (grade 1), moderate (grade 2), and severe (grade 3) – and are either a strain or a sprain. If your injury caused trauma by over-stretching to the muscles or tendons, then it is classified as a strain; a sprain refers to trauma caused by over-stretching the ligaments.
For mild soft tissue injuries, recovery time is usually one to two weeks, while for moderate soft tissue injuries, recovery time is usually three to four weeks. Severe soft tissue injuries, on the other hand, require immediate assessment and treatment and have far longer recovery times. Additionally, the length of your recovery will also be affected by other factors, such as your age, general health, and your occupation. If you have questions about your recovery time or the nature or extent of your injury, you should speak with your physician, who will explain the severity of your injury and give you an estimation of how long your recovery will take.
How can I heal my injury faster?
For the treatment and healing process of a soft tissue injury, it is important to follow RICE – standing for rest, ice, compression, and elevation – which is key in treating an acute soft tissue injury. The main objective of employing RICE therapy early is to control the initial inflammation and to help get the healing process started as earlier as possible.
You should also receive a diagnosis and understand the nature of your injury as this will help to focus your rehabilitation strategy and allow for a swifter recovery with fewer possible complications. Additionally, having a better understanding of your injury helps with your mental preparation for the recovery stage.
One of the first steps to take is to begin early range of motion exercises once the initial swelling has improved or gone down. This stage should be overseen by a specialist or physiotherapist, as a premature return to physical activities will your joint motion is limited can result in you experiencing further injury. It is also important that you begin resistance training to improve balance, reflex control, and endurance in the injured tissues – which, again, should be undertaken under the supervision of a physiotherapist or specialist.
Lastly, one step that you can undertake on your own are to eat protein-rich foods, including meat and fish, citrus fruits and dark leafy greens, which provide vitamin C to help rebuild tissue, and those foods that have anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3 is an important supplement for helping to reduce excessive inflammation.
For those who have suffered a personal injury, such as a sprain or strain, and are looking to manage or treat their injury, then we at Neuropathy and Pain Centers of America are here to help. To book your appointment with us, please give us a call or visit our website online to request an appointment.