It’s time for another Austin-area sports medicine 101 class! At one time or another, most athletes face minor injuries, including swelling. But what is it, and how do we handle swollen areas?
Swelling is an atypical accumulation of fluid within soft tissues. The knees, ankles and other joints in the lower leg are common areas affected by swelling. When soft tissues (muscles, tendons or ligaments) are injured, they often become swollen and may possibly bleed internally. This swelling causes pain and loss of motion, which limits use of the muscles.
Swelling commonly occurs after an acute injury such as ankle sprain or another type of sprain or strain, bruise, fracture, dislocation or any traumatic injury. Swelling also occurs with many chronic injuries.
To reduce swelling, immediately apply ice to the injury, elevate the injured part above your heart and, use a compression wrap to help keep the swelling in check. Compression keeps the blood from pooling in the tissues. Don’t wrap the bandages too tightly, but keep it snug.