Thursday, January 29, 2015

Rice or meat after my injury?

So, soon after blogging about reaching my 150th day of 10k steps a day, and rambling on about targets and possibilities, I went straight out an injured myself. Turning to chase a cross-court backhand I felt the unmissable twang of a muscle strain. I hopped of the court, limped to the car and reach for the freeze spray and some compression bandage.

It was not good.

Back home, I strapped a Physicool bandage around my calf, elevated it and consoled myself for the next 30-40 minute by watching a bit of the Australian Open tennis on TV. I'll have a better idea tomorrow about how bad it is and how long it might take to rehab, but for now it looks like my consecutive day record will not go beyond 150.

The received wisdom with an injury like this is to apply the well-known RICE protocol. Rest, ice, compress, elevate,but there is an alternative that I came across a few years ago and that I've used on a more minor injury before. It's called the MEAT Proctocol, which stands for: Movement, Exercise, Analgesics, Treatment.

Movement begins soon after the injury, corrective exercise only after the acute phase has passed. Analgesics are pain relief (typically NSAID's like ibuprofen), and treatment speaks for itself, although treatment obviously varies according to the stage and severity of the injury.

The basic premise is that you need to start moving within the pain free range of motion as soon as possible in order to support the healing process. No moving, i.e. rest, doesn't help the blood flow which in turn doesn't help promote faster healing.

Clearly I'm not going to be able to run for a while, certainly not going to be able to play tennis, but I should be able to do some gentle walking. Hopefully I'll be racing around again sooner rather than later, but as with al injuries it's best to listen to what your therapist tells you. Unfortunately in my case that's me and although I talk to myself a lot, I rarely listen to what I'm saying!!

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