Skip to main content

Acute injury management

Someone giving physiotherapy to someone's leg muscles

Swelling & Pain

Part of the body’s normal response to injury is pain and swelling. Follow the simple steps below to manage your symptoms.

  • Ice: Ice is a great natural anaesthetic that helps relieve pain and controls swelling. Apply ice packs or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a thin towel to the site of the injury. You may find it helps to apply ice before and after completing your exercises. Do not apply ice directly to the skin. Do not leave the ice pack on for more than 20 minutes at a time in one hour. Repeat as much as required.
  • Elevation: It is normal to experience swelling post injury.  Elevation reduces swelling, which in turn relieves pain and speeds up your healing.  Keep your injured limb elevated as much as possible during the first 72 hours.
  • Medication: A&E may have prescribed you with some pain relief. Take these as instructed to help keep on top of the pain. If you do not feel that this medication is helping, consider talking to a pharmacist or your GP to see if there is an alternative option.

Driving

  • If you have an injury to your lower limb, you can return to driving when you no longer require the orthopaedic boot or crutches and are confident that you are able to do an emergency stop.
  • If you have an upper limb injury, you can begin driving when you are no longer using your sling and when you have sufficient pain-free strength in your arms.
  • If you have a follow up appointment with us please wait until your consultant or physiotherapist has given you clearance to drive. If you are in any doubt, do not drive until you have spoken to our team.

Work and Sport

Decisions to return to work are made on an individual basis and should be discussed with the Virtual Fracture Clinic, your GP and your employer. You may require a period of time off work and when you return you may need light or amended duties. The advice given will depend on your profession and your injury.

Advice regarding return to sport will be given during your telephone consultation.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

When you are less mobile you are at higher risk of developing a blood clot, known as a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Some patients require medication to reduce this risk. The clinician who referred you to the Virtual Fracture Clinic will have considered this and prescribed if required.

If you develop signs of a DVT you need to seek urgent medical attention. The signs are:

  • Swelling and tenderness in your calf and lower leg, rather than your knee.
  • A change in colour of your toes compared with your other leg (typically purple)
  • Pain in the calf, groin or chest area.
  • Redness and heat in the affected area

Smoking with an injury

Medical evidence suggests that smoking prolongs fracture healing time. In extreme cases it can stop healing altogether. It is important that you consider this information with relation to your recent injury. Stopping smoking during the healing phase of a fracture will help ensure optimal recovery from this injury.

For advice on smoking cessation and local support available, please discuss this with your GP or refer to the NHS Smoke Free website.

Follow us: