I recently treated a young dancer who hurt her leg at school. The story of how she hurt her leg and her subsequent recovery is a perfect example as to why safety recognition and proper injury management is key.
Now her mechanism of injury is somewhat amusing but totally preventable. While at school she slipped on a pencil and awkwardly caught her balance. She was unable to extend her leg fully and was walking around on her tippy toes when I saw her. She complained of pain in her upper calf. She had no swelling or deformity. Her hamstring and calf were in spasm which was causing her pain. I sent her home with instructions to RICE (rest, ice, compress & elevate). This is where the story turns ugly. She went to school the next day feeling better, that was until she was not allowed to ice during recesses and lunch. When her mother arrived home, her ankle was swollen, bruised and sore. She was in so much pain, you could not touch her leg without her crying. Click here to see her ankle. After one day of ice, elevation and rest the swelling had gone down and by day five full range of motion had returned and she is back to dance.
Her injury was totally preventable, making sure that things are not left on the floor and encouraging kids to be aware of their surroundings. However, kids will be kids and that can't always happen. What could have happened is the proper management post injury. As was seen by her recovery once the RICE principle was initiated, if this had been done the day after injury then the swelling, pain and bruising would not have been so severe.
Basic injury management principles are just that basic and simple. The RICE principle has been around for many years and does not require much advanced knowledge of injury management. Correct management obviously creates a more ideal situation for healing, which is in the best interest for everyone. A similar situation is a friend of mine who hurt her knee during soccer. Her husband told her to heat it that night. These two situations show the importance of more education on basic injury management.
As health professionals we may feel that everyone knows how to deal with acute injuries, but everyday athletes both young and old are getting improper advice which in turn prolongs their injury and taking them away from being active and achieving success.