Elevating Your Injury: An Important Step in Healing

Many situations require the right follow-through for them to work or come to completion. Take a recipe for example; if you do not follow it step-by-step, your finished product will most likely not turn out as you hope. Taking shortcuts during the construction will result in an unsafe building, and sewing an outfit without following the pattern may leave you with your sleeves stuck together or parts sewn on backwards. Following instructions properly can make or break the success of a project. So when elevating your injury is a step in the treatment process, it’s best not to overlook it.

Basic Protocol for Treating Foot Injuries

We care about your foot health and don’t want an injury to interfere with doing the things you love to do. When one occurs, we want to help you every step of the way, and that includes educating you about the best practices for self-care of injuries at home.

The first recommended treatment is often the RICE method, which involves rest, ice, compression and elevation. There is a reason this protocol has been implemented for centuries—it works. Starting with rest allows weight and pressure to be removed from the foot so further damage does not occur. Icing is the second step, which is extremely vital in relieving pain and reducing inflammation. When an injury occurs, your muscles, ligaments, tendons, soft tissues and blood vessels can be damaged to some extent. Broken capillaries can leak blood into the injured area, which is what leads to pain and swelling. Icing causes vessels to constrict and clamp down, reducing blood flow and swelling. Compression in the form of an elastic bandage, for example, also helps reduce swelling in the area. Finally, we come to elevation, another key element that is essential to the healing process.

Why is Elevation So Important?

It is common with a minor injury for people to rest a bit, maybe use some ice and take a pain reliever and call it good. We understand life can’t always come to a halt with an injury, but rushing through the treatment process and leaving important steps out can cause more pain, complications and possible re-injury. The last step of elevation requires a person to stop and not move—difficult for an active person who is used to being on the go.

The reason elevation is so important is that it helps to reduce the blood flow to the injured area. If you are always up on your feet, blood can pool and result in more pain and inflammation. When you sit with your leg propped up above the level of your heart, gravity helps move fluid away from the injured area and minimizes swelling and internal bleeding. Taking the time to do this encourages faster healing. Prop your foot or leg on top of a stool or pillows. You should not be feeling any numbness or pins and needles so readjust if this should occur. Elevating your injury while you are sleeping at night is a good idea as well. Keep up with this step while you are managing pain and swelling, and then you can ease off as the injury is healing.

Take Action Quickly

When a foot or ankle injury occurs, don’t try and tough it out, hoping the pain will just go away. Even if it’s minor in nature, treat it appropriately following each step of the RICE method. If your pain is severe, contact Harvey R. Danciger, DPM for proper diagnosis to understand the scope of the injury and what course of treatment is best. You can reach our Palm Desert, CA at (760) 568-0108 or use our appointment request page online.

Dr. Harvey Danciger
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Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle