Swelling is a normal response to injury or surgery. Typically, swelling resolves on its own with a few days or weeks. There are instances, however, when swelling does not subside, causing pain and impairing function. Recurrent joint sprains can result in chronic swelling due to damage that occurs to the underlying lymphatic and circulatory structures in the area of the sprain. Trauma that results in a laceration or bruising can lead to unresolved swelling if you body is unable to reabsorb the fluid on its own.
Swelling in the traumatized area that may or may not resolve with elevation of the extremity. You may notice skin texture and color changes as well. You may experience mild to moderate sensitivity when pressure is applied to the area.
What to expect from therapy
A comprehensive treatment program has many facets. Successful treatment requires utilization of those techniques that are most appropriate for the individual patient. Treatment provided by a skilled physical or occupational therapist, with specialized training in swelling management, will provide the best chance for a satisfactory outcome.
At HealthReach, our therapists utilize a variety of treatment interventions. Those can include:
Manual Lymphatic Drainage — a gentle massage which facilitates fluid movement from tissue into the circulatory system
Medical Compression Bandaging — uses low stretch bandages to facilitate lymph flow and prevent refulling of the limb between treatment sessions
Sequential Pumping — a vasopneumatic pump which 'milks' flluid out of a limb can be a useful tool with some individuals
Therapeutic Exercise — our muscles are our very best pump of fluid! Lymphatic fluid can be effectively drained when exercise is combined with compression bandaging
Patient Education - the goal of therapy is to have each patient learn skills that allow him/her to manage swelling independently. This includes providing information regarding skin care, infection prevention, self massage and exercise.
Your therapist will work with you to determine what type of compression garment will be most effective in preventing the recurrence of swelling in the future.